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Sleep pattern gender differences and fragmentation in postpartum parents of twins

  • Damato, Elizabeth G1, 2, 3
  • Burant, Christopher J1, 4
  • Brubaker, Jennifer A5
  • Decker, Michael J2
  • 1 Case Western Reserve University, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing - Cleveland - Ohio -United States.
  • 2 Case Western Reserve University, Department of Physiology & Biophysics - Cleveland - Ohio - United States.
  • 3 Case Western Reserve University, Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep Medicine - Cleveland - Ohio -United States.
  • 4 Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center - Cleveland -Ohio - United States.
  • 5 Cleveland Clinic Foundation, General Pediatrics, Lorain Family Health Center - Cleveland - Ohio -United States.
Published Article
Sleep Science
Brazilian Association of Sleep and Latin American Federation of Sleep
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
Spec 2
DOI: 10.5935/1984-0063.20200101
PMID: 35082980
PMCID: PMC8764939
PubMed Central
  • Original Articles


Objective Parents of newborn twins are at risk for both shortened sleep duration and sleep discontinuity. The purpose of this study was to characterize weekday and weekend sleep duration, sleep continuity, and awakenings in both mothers and fathers of newborn twins during the first 3 months at home. Material and Methods Sleep-wake parameters were assessed at two time points using self-report diaries and actigraphy in 75 families with newborn twins. To assess sleep on weekdays and weekends with minimal subject burden, actigraphy recordings of both parents commenced at 9:00 p.m. Saturday and terminated at 9:00 p.m. Tuesday. Results Mean sleep duration over 24 hours for parents of twins ranged between 6.7 and 7.5 hours during the first 3 months postpartum and did not significantly differ on weekdays or weekends for mothers. Weekend sleep was more fragmented for fathers at both one month and three months with more awakenings, compared to weekday sleep. Mothers had more fragmented night sleep compared to fathers at one month. In contrast, at three months postpartum fathers had shorter total sleep time and night sleep time, but fewer night awakenings on weekdays than mothers. No differences were observed in weekend sleep duration or sleep patterns between mothers and fathers at three months. Discussion Consolidated sleep periods for both parents averages three hours or less during the first three months postpartum and sleep for both parents is fragmented. In families with newborn twins, the extent of sleep disruption for mothers and fathers is similar.

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