Lockdown dramatically increased stress levels and loss of sleep in mothers

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  • Lockdowns have increased mothers' stress levels
  • This led to a lack of sleep and decreased physical activity
  • Their stress was caused by household chaos, disorder, noise, and crowding 

As the world battled with the first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, many mothers experienced increased stress levels and a lack of sleep, a new study found.

According to research published in Women's Health, mothers were stressed by household chaos, disorder, noise and housework.

Surveying mothers

The study enrolled 1 721 mothers of preschoolers between the ages of 3 and 5.9 years in the United States. They completed an online survey in May 2020 during the Covid-19 stay-at-home lockdown and early easing of regulations.

The mothers responded to 15 statements related to their current home dynamic, including disorder, noise, and crowding. They were also asked to rank their stress levels from January to December 2019 on a scale of 1–10 in separate questions. They were then questioned about barriers they faced while maintaining routine and order in their homes during the lockdown.

The mums also answered questions on their physical activity and compared their current sleep quality to before the Covid-19 outbreak.

Increased stress levels and sleep loss

The study concluded that the mothers experienced elevated stress levels and poor quality of sleep during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

The research indicated that only about 50% of the mothers involved in the study got the recommended amount of sleep and physical activity. Mothers with higher stress levels were less likely to meet these guidelines.  

The study authors emphasised that support is critical for facilitating adequate amounts of physical activity and sleep, and that multi-level interventions are warranted to improve maternal health behaviours. 

They added that safe and feasible non-parental care options are vital to support both housekeeping and maternal health, especially as mothers had to manage without the support of domestic help and child-carers during the lockdowns.

*For more Covid-19 research, science and news, click here. You can also sign up for our Daily Dose newsletter here.

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