Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Hawley Montgomery-Downs

Committee Co-Chair

Christina Duncan

Committee Member

Miranda Reed


This study investigated memory for brief nocturnal awakenings, characteristics of those awakenings in women during the early and late postpartum period, and how these awakenings were related to neurocognitive performance in exclusively breastfeeding and exclusively formula-feeding mothers.;The median duration of a nocturnal awakening necessary for morning recall was four minutes and 30 seconds, which closely resembles the current five-minute rule of thumb. There was normal variability in thresholds, indicating that other factors may influence memory for awakenings. During the postpartum period, women generally under-reported the number of awakenings experienced each night, but did increase in accuracy by week 12. Average number and duration of awakenings were not related to concurrent neurocognitive performance. There were no differences in number of lapses on the psychomotor vigilance test based on feeding method. However, exclusively formula-feeding mothers did have increased median reaction time overall compared to exclusively breastfeeding mothers, despite no significant differences in average number or duration of awakenings.;Findings from this work increase our basic understanding of memory formation during nocturnal awakenings, as well as how postpartum sleep disturbance changes over time and the associations between infant feeding method and maternal sleep disturbance.