Sleep quality during the first month postpartum has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the results of a study presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, held from June 4 to 8, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with negative impacts to sleep and mood worldwide. Previous studies have found that perinatal women have had detriments to sleep and depression during the pandemic; however, all studies to date in the perinatal setting have lacked a comparator group, so robust conclusions about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic have not been elucidated.

For this study, women with a history of major depression disorder (MDD) or postpartum disorder (PPD) were evaluated for sleep quality and depression at 36 weeks and 4 weeks postpartum using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HRDS), and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Data were sourced from 2 cohorts. Data for the pandemic cohort were collected between August 2020 and April 2021 and the historical cohort, in 1998. The pandemic cohort was part of a study of SNOO®, a robotic, responsive bassinet and the historical cohort was sourced from a randomized controlled trial of 4 drug treatments.

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Mean maternal age was 31.1 (SD, 4.2) years and 84% of women were White.

Sleep quality did not differ during late pregnancy among the historical (mean, 7.62; SD, 3.5) or pandemic (mean, 7.16; SD, 3.8) cohorts. At 1-month postpartum, however, sleep was significantly impacted among the pandemic cohort (mean, 7.10 vs 8.7; P <.001).

During the prepandemic period, more women met the criteria for depression during late pregnancy (41.1%) compared with during the pandemic (2.6%; χ2, 26.1; P <.001). By 1-month postpartum, no group differences in depression were observed (13.2% vs 19.3%; χ2, 1.05; P =.31).

Late-pregnancy sleep quality correlated with depression during pregnancy (r, 0.22; P =.005). No other correlations were reported.

“Our findings suggest that the pandemic negatively impacted sleep quality in the first month postpartum, but not the rate of depression. We interpret these findings with caution due to varying methodologies,” concluded the study authors.

Disclosure: Multiple authors declared affiliations with industry. Please refer to the original article for a full list of disclosures.


Okun M, Kohl V, Wisner K. Sleep quality and depression among high-risk perinatal women: impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Presented at SLEEP 2022; June 4-8; Charlotte, North Carolina. Abstract 666.

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor