Sleep Patterns and Fatigue in Parents of Twins

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ObjectiveTo examine patterns of postpartum parental sleep and levels of fatigue at 2, 12, and 20 weeks following hospital discharge of newborn twins.DesignDescriptive longitudinal pilot study.SettingRecruitment from 2 hospital postpartum units. Data collected in parents' homes.ParticipantsEight primiparous parents caring for twins delivered at 33 to 38 weeks gestation.MethodsHome visits to deliver and retrieve study equipment: wrist actigraphy and sleep diaries to measure sleep, standardized instrument to measure fatigue, and an investigator-developed form to measure demographics and related variables.ResultsFathers had significantly less night sleep (5.4 hours) and less 24 hour sleep (5.8 hours) than mothers (6.2 and 6.9 hours, respectively) at 2 weeks after twins were discharged. Sleep efficiency increased significantly over time in a linear fashion for both parents. Morning and evening fatigue levels were not significantly different between parents and remained constant over time.ConclusionPilot data suggest that mothers and especially fathers of twins experience sleep disturbances after discharge of their twins. Further study is needed to more fully describe the evolution of sleep patterns and clarify factors that influence sleep in parents of twins.

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