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The Association of Daytime Maternal Napping and Exercise With Nighttime Sleep in First-Time Mothers Between 3 and 6 Months Postpartum.



This study investigated the relationship of daytime maternal napping, exercise, caffeine, and alcohol intake to objective and subjective sleep indices.


Sixty healthy, nondepressed, first-time mothers between 3 and 6 months postpartum.


Seven consecutive days of online behavior diaries, sleep diaries, and wrist actigraphy, collecting Total Sleep Time (TST), Sleep Onset Latency (SOL), and Wake After Sleep Onset (WASO).


After controlling for infant age, employment status, infant feeding method, and infant sleeping location, mixed linear models showed that longer average exercise durations were associated with longer average TST, and longer average nap durations were associated with longer average WASO durations. Significant within-person differences in TST and SOL were also observed, such that, on days when participants exercised and napped longer than average, their respective TST and SOL durations that night were longer.


Shorter nap durations and longer exercise durations were associated with longer TST, shorter SOL, and reduced WASO. Even small changes in daily exercise and napping behaviors could lead to reliable improvements in postpartum maternal sleep.

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