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Sleep disorders in new mothers linked to depression

A recent study has found that sleep disorders can cause women who have recently given birth to become depressed.

The report was conducted by scientists at the Stavanger University Hospital in Norway and has been published in the July 1st issue of the journal SLEEP.

In a survey of nearly 3,000 women who gave birth to babies over a 12-month period between 2005 and 2006, 60 per cent had trouble with their sleep quality and 16.5 per cent displayed symptoms of depression.

Lead author Dr Karen Dorheim, who is a psychiatrist at Stavanger University Hospital in Norway, commented: "It is important to ask a new mother suffering from tiredness about how poor sleep affects her daytime functioning and whether there are other factors in her life that may contribute to her lack of energy."

She added that every opportunity should be provided to enable mothers to talk about how they are feeling and whether they suspect they may be slipping into a negative frame.

A screening questionnaire could be one way to identify women particularly vulnerable to depression.

A recent study by scientists at the University of Warwick Medical School found that sleep deprivation caused inflammatory markers to be elevated, suggesting a higher risk of cardiovascular problems.

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Sleep disorders in new mothers linked to depression
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