Primary investigator Jennifer Doering, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee, College of Nursing, and colleagues surveyed 183 new mothers from two Midwestern hospitals who gave birth to healthy infants and were on Medicaid.
Two weeks after giving birth, they completed a survey. Study participants also kept three days and nights of sleep diaries.
The study identified several causes of sleep deprivation, the most prevalent was bed sharing. The research team found bed sharing was common among lower income women who are new moms. Two weeks after giving birth, nearly 2-in-5 new mothers reported sleeping with a male partner and 1-in-5 said they slept with their newborn, the study found.
About 29 percent of the mothers said they slept with one older child, 8 percent slept with two older children and 25 percent said they slept alone.
The study found half of participants said they slept with the television on part or all of the night. More than 85 percent mothers said they drank caffeine and 24 percent said they smoked.
"In addition to waking from an infant, there were a variety of other factors and behaviors that contributed to a decrease in the quantity and quality of sleep," Doering said in a statement. "Some of these variables can be controlled."