Thu, October 06, 2011
Lifestyle > Health

Reduced sleep increases post-natal depression risks

2011-10-06 08:17:53 GMT2011-10-06 16:17:53(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

SYDNEY, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- Lack of sleep is strongly linked to post-natal depression for new mothers, according to an Australian study revealed on Thursday.

Australian researcher Kerry Thomas at the University of Canberra conducted a review of more than 100 international studies and found strong links between sleep deprivation and depressive symptoms in new mums during the first few months after giving birth.

Thomas presented her findings to the Australian Psychological Society's annual conference in Canberra on Thursday.

She said a lack of sleep could make new mums feel sad, fatigued and unable to concentrate.

"Women whose babies wake several times during the night have a greater risk of developing depression, and that's both at four weeks postpartum and eight weeks postpartum stage," she told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

"Women who receive less than six hours of sleep a night in a 24- hour period also have an increased risk of developing depression."

Thomas said growing evidence showed that sleep problems were associated with depressive illness.

Thomas will follow up her research by recruiting 60 new mums in 2012 to study their stages of sleep and monitor any symptoms of depression for up to a year after their babies are born.

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