Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Hawley Montgomery-Downs


Objectives. Postpartum maternal sleep disturbance is common. However, little research has examined postpartum fathers' sleep. Additionally, the magnitude of postpartum mothers' and fathers' daytime sleepiness has not been objectively indexed. The aims of this dissertation study were to: (1) objectively examine the difference in sleep and sleepiness levels among first-time mothers and fathers during their early postpartum period; (2) examine parents' perceptions of their own and their partner's mood, sleep, and sleepiness.;Method. Twenty one first-time postpartum mother-father dyads (N = 42; 27.38 +/- 4.92 years; 91.67% white; 15.40 +/- 3.53 years of education; annual household income {dollar}56,091 +/- {dollar}34,320), completed one week of continuous wrist actigraphy and electronic sleep diary monitoring followed by standard four-nap Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) when their infants were 6.93 +/- 1.26 weeks old.;Results. Mothers (M = 424.83, SD = 42 minutes) had significantly (F[1, 18] = 17.31, p < .01, d = 1.30) more 24-hour sleep time than fathers (M = 375.14, SD = 34.06 minutes); however, mothers (M = 18.86, SD = 3.34) also had significantly (F[1,18] = 13.17, p < .01, d = 1.12) more sleep fragmentation than fathers (M = 14.34, SD = 4.62). Fathers ( M = 11.80, SD = 4.60) had significantly ( F[1, 19] = 11.85, p < .005, d = 0.88) higher levels of sleepiness than mothers (M = 8.03, SD = 3.92). Overall, fathers were better at reporting their partner's objective sleepiness than mothers were their partner's; furthermore, fathers were better judges of their own objective nocturnal wake time than mothers were their own.;Conclusions. The current study is the first to objectively report sleepiness values among postpartum mothers and fathers during their early postpartum period. Furthermore, the current study expands the knowledge of the relatively unknown sleep experience of postpartum fathers. Additionally, the identification of parental perceptions of sleep and sleepiness may lay the framework to identify ways to maximize productivity and safety within a postpartum household. The early postpartum period is important in the context of these findings because it is a time when one, or both parents go back to work to function as productive members of society---and they have a new infant to care for---yet, new parents may experience various sleep and sleepiness-associated impairments.;Support. NIH grant R21HD053836 (HMD); APA Basic Psychological Science Research Grant (SI); WVU Doctoral Student Research Support (SI); WVU Alumni Fund (SI); WVU Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Training Scholarship Research Award (SI).