For families with newborns, is there an association between infant and parent sleep and the level of stress the parents are experiencing? Most people would say a resounding “YES,” and they would be right. This is not surprising. Also not surprising is that this correlation between sleep and stress is greater for mothers rather than fathers. What is surprising, however, is how this connection between sleep and stress is even greater for mothers on maternity leave. It seems that mothers on maternity leave have greater stress in response to poor sleep than mothers that return to work. Researchers hypothesized that mothers on maternity leave are more stressed because they provide care “around the clock” without a sufficient opportunity to rest.
Abstract: Infant sleep, parental sleep and parenting stress in families of mothers on maternity leave and in families of working mothers, Infant Behavior and Development