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June 9, 2008, at 12:01 a.m.
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WESTCHESTER, Ill. – Bright light therapy may improve a mother’s nocturnal sleep, decrease daytime sleepiness and be beneficial to her well-being, according to a research abstract that will be presented on Monday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).
The study, authored by Shih-Yu Lee, PhD, of Georgia State University, focused on 16 first-time mothers with a low birth weight infant hospitalized in the intensive care unit. The subjects were randomly assigned to two groups: the treatment group mothers received a 10,000 lux blue-green bright light therapy for four weeks and the control group mothers received a placebo dim red light therapy. Total sleep time during the day and night was measured by averaging the data obtained from two consecutive days of wrist actigraphy monitoring.
According to the results, the post-treatment average nocturnal total sleep time increased from 383 minutes (6.38 hours) at the baseline to 424 minutes (7.07 hours) for the treatment group mothers. However, the total sleep time in the control group mothers worsened from 413 minutes (6.88 hours) to 373 minutes (6.22 hours). After the four-week intervention, the treatment group mothers’ daytime total sleep time decreased from 114 to 39 minutes.
“Having a low birth weight infant in the ICU can intensify sleep disturbances for mothers because of extended periods of exposure to the artificial dim light in the ICU and stress related to the infant’s medical condition,” said Dr. Lee. “Impaired sleep may have negative impact on the mother’s well-being. In our research, we were looking for an intervention to help mothers that would be feasible for them to use even when their infant is hospitalized. The preliminary findings from our pilot study indicate that bright light therapy given through use of the special visor may improve mothers’ nocturnal sleep, decrease daytime sleepiness, and be beneficial to their well-being. While our results are promising, a larger scale randomized clinical trial is needed to establish if this would be an effective therapy in this population.”
Sleep plays a vital role in promoting a woman’s health and well being. Getting the required amount of sleep is likely to enhance a woman’s overall quality of life. Yet, women face many potential barriers – such as life events, depression, illness, bad sleep habits and medication use – that can disrupt and disturb her sleep. Overcoming these challenges can help her enjoy the daily benefits of feeling alert and well rested.
It is recommended that women get between seven and eight hours of nightly sleep.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips for women on how to get a good night’s sleep:
- Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
- Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
- Get a full night’s sleep every night.
- Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
- Do not bring your worries to bed with you.
- Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime either.
- Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
- Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
- Get up at the same time every morning.
Those who suspect that they might be suffering from a sleep disorder are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.
More information on “women and sleep” is available from the AASM at https://www.SleepEducation.com/Topic.aspx?id=67.
The annual SLEEP meeting brings together an international body of 5,000 leading researchers and clinicians in the field of sleep medicine to present and discuss new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders.
More than 1,150 research abstracts will be presented at the SLEEP meeting, a joint venture of the AASM and the Sleep Research Society. The three-and-a-half-day scientific meeting will bring to light new findings that enhance the understanding of the processes of sleep and aid the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.
SleepEducation.com, a patient education Web site created by the AASM, provides information about various sleep disorders, the forms of treatment available, recent news on the topic of sleep, sleep studies that have been conducted and a listing of sleep facilities.
Abstract Title: Using Bright Light Therapy to Promote Sleep in Mothers with a Low Birth Weigh Infant: A Preliminary Report
Presentation Date: Monday, June 9
Category: Sleep Deprivation
Abstract ID: 0376
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