Partner involvement in infant care at night is associated with better maternal sleep postpartum

This study aimed to quantify the associations between maternal sleep duration and partner involvement in infant care at night.

Maristella Lucchini, Michal Kahn, Shambhavi Thakur, Natalie Barnett

Presented at 8th Annual Sleep & Research Symposium at Yale 2023



Mothers are at high risk for poor mental health in the postpartum period. One of the significant determinants of mental health is sleep, which is known to have a bidirectional association with mental health in the general population. Mothers are particularly at risk for poor sleep in the postpartum period and several factors contribute to poor sleep, including caring for their newborn, parity, sleep environment, occupational status and social support. Nonetheless, we could not find any study characterizing the impact of partner involvement in infant care at night on maternal sleep. 


Quantify the associations between maternal sleep duration and partner involvement in infant care at night. 


We recruited 506 mothers at 2.7±2.1 months postpartum, among Nanit consumers in the US. Mothers reported on their mental health by completing the EPDS and completed the BISQ-R, which includes one question on who takes care of the baby at night. 


Among recruited mothers, 265 were employed while 224 were stay-at-home parents or on parental leave. Seventy eight percent were first time mothers. On average mothers reported sleeping 6.2±1.2 hours per night and had an average EPDS score of 5.8±5.14, with 11% of the sample scoring positive for depression (EPDS score≧13). Fifty nine percent of the mothers reported that their partner was not involved in infant care at night, while 34% reported that both parents were equally involved or that their partner was the only one involved in infant care at night. Longer sleep duration was significantly associated with lower EPDS score (β=-0.9±0.2 p<0.001). Sleep duration was on average 20 minutes longer for mothers whose partners were involved in infant care at night, compared to mothers who were attending baby's needs without help (β=0.3±0.1 p=0.003). 

Maternal sleep duration

Who is caring for infant at night


Previous research has established the important role of social support for maternal mental health and sleep in the postpartum period, but this study is the first one to quantify the specific association between partner involvement in infant care at night. These results provide evidence for actionable recommendations to improve maternal sleep in the postpartum period.

Partner involvement in infant care at night is associated with better maternal sleep postpartum

About Nanit Lab

The researchers included Maristella Lucchini, Michal Kahn, Shambhavi Thakur, and Natalie Barnett.

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  • Dr. Maristella Lucchini serves as Senior Clinical Researcher at Nanit. In her role, Maristella works to secure grant funding in collaboration with Nanit’s university research partners and supports the development of the company’s research collaborations around the world. Previously, Maristella served as an Assistant Research Scientist in the Division of Developmental Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center where she led projects across several cohorts focusing on sleep health for pregnant and postpartum women and their children. Maristella’s research focused on underserved communities and sleep health disparities in the perinatal period. During her years as a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in the Department of Psychiatry, Maristella was selected to participate in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Young Investigator Research Forum. She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano.
  • Dr. Michal Kahn is a sleep researcher and licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in pediatric insomnia and sleep development. She is a senior lecturer (assistant professor) at the School of Psychological Sciences at Tel Aviv University, Israel.
  • Shambhavi Thakur serves as Clinical Research Data Analyst at Nanit. She holds a Masters degree in Health Informatics and Life Sciences. She oversees the research collaborations with various universities and analyzes sleep data for internal as well as external studies.
  • Dr. Natalie Barnett serves as VP of Clinical Research at Nanit. Natalie initiated sleep research collaborations at Nanit and in her current role, Natalie oversees collaborations with researchers at hospitals and universities around the world who use the Nanit camera to better understand pediatric sleep and leads the internal sleep and development research programs at Nanit. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New England in Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatric Sleep Science from the University of Western Australia. Natalie was an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenetics Unit at NYU School of Medicine prior to joining Nanit. Natalie is also the voice of Nanit's science-backed, personalized sleep tips delivered to users throughout their baby's first few years.

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About Nanit Lab

We've put together a cutting-edge think tank of scientists, engineers, physicians, academic experts, and thought leaders to develop best-in-class research among three primary pillars: Sleep Health, Postpartum Anxiety & Depression, and Pediatric Health and Wellness.