Postpartum sleep health in a multiethnic cohort of women during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City

Sleep Health. 2022 Apr;8(2):175-182. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2021.10.009. Epub 2022 Jan 4.


Objective/design: Cross-sectional study to examine the determinants of sleep health among postpartum women during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City (NYC).

Setting/participants: A subset of participants recruited as part of the COVID-19 Mother Baby Outcomes (COMBO) cohort at Columbia University (N = 62 non-Hispanic White, N = 17 African American, N = 107 Hispanic).

Measurements: Data on maternal sleep, COVID-19 infection during pregnancy, sociodemographic, behavioral, and psychological factors were collected via questionnaire at 4 months postpartum. Self-reported subjective sleep quality, latency, duration, efficiency, disturbances, and daytime dysfunction were examined as categorical variables (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index [PSQI]). Associations between sleep variables and COVID-19 status, time of the pandemic, sociodemographic, behavioral, and psychological factors were estimated via independent multivariable regressions.

Results: Mothers who delivered between May-December 2020, who delivered after the NYC COVID-19 peak, experienced worse sleep latency, disturbances and global sleep health compared to those who delivered March-April 2020, the peak of the pandemic. Maternal depression, stress and COVID-19-related post-traumatic stress were associated with all sleep domains except for sleep efficiency. Maternal perception of infant's sleep as a problem was associated with worse global PSQI score, subjective sleep quality, duration, and efficiency. Compared to non-Hispanic White, Hispanic mothers reported worse global PSQI scores, sleep latency, duration and efficiency, but less daytime dysfunction.

Conclusions: These findings provide crucial information about sociodemographic, behavioral, and psychological factors contributing to sleep health in the postpartum period.

Keywords: COVID-19; disparities; ethnicity; mother; postpartum; race.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / ethnology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires