Sleep behavior and chronotype before and throughout pregnancy

Peinan Zhao, Bronwyn S. Bedrick, Kristine E. Brown, Ronald McCarthy, Jessica E. Chubiz, Yo El S. Ju, Nandini Raghuraman, Justin C. Fay, Emily S. Jungheim, Erik D. Herzog, Sarah K. England*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Study objective: To compare sleep behavior before and during pregnancy. Methods: In this prospective cohort study, healthy women were followed from pre-pregnancy until delivery. At pre-pregnancy and each trimester, participants completed validated questionnaires of chronotype and sleep quality and timing, including the Munich ChronoType Questionnaire, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. The primary outcomes were sleep period start and end times, sleep duration, sleep midpoint, and social jetlag, compared between pre-pregnancy and each trimester. Wrist actigraphy was used to measure the same outcomes in a subset of participants. Results: Eighty-six women were included in analysis of questionnaires. Of these, 37 provided complete actigraphy data. Questionnaire and actigraphy data indicate that participants had less social jetlag during pregnancy than before pregnancy. Sleep period start times were earlier on both work and free days in the first and second trimesters than pre-pregnancy, and returned to pre-pregnancy times by the third trimester. Actigraphy data revealed that, compared to pre-pregnancy, participants had longer sleep periods in all trimesters on work days and in the first trimester on free days. Sleep surveys revealed that participants had poorer sleep quality in the first and third trimesters and more sleepiness in the first trimester than pre-pregnancy. Conclusion: The first trimester of pregnancy is characterized by earlier sleep period start time, longer sleep duration, and poorer sleep quality than pre-pregnancy. Sleep quality temporarily improves in the second trimester, and sleep period start time returns to pre-pregnancy time by the third trimester. Study rationale: Multiple parameters of sleep have been studied in the context of pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, but rarely in comparison to pre-pregnancy or longitudinally through pregnancy. Study impact: Actigraphy and questionnaire data reveal sleep timing and quality change throughout pregnancy. These data on sleep changes in healthy pregnancy can be used as a baseline to identify sleep-related risk factors throughout pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-62
Number of pages9
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Actigraphy
  • Chronotype
  • Circadian
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction
  • Sleep behavior
  • Sleep surveys
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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