Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression – is a state of depression that affects around 6% of all women in connection with childbirth. Men can also get postpartum depression, but it is somewhat less common than for women. The diagnosis of postpartum depression is typically given if you experience a period of depression within six months after giving birth. General depression can be experienced in the first days after a birth, but is typically transient within 14 days.


Postpartum depression is characterised by a wide range of physical, psychological and social factors. If you combine them with the fatigue due to lack of sleep and the major changes in the woman's hormones after childbirth, a vicious circle can arise. The woman has a bad mood and sleeps worse at night, which makes her more tired. She has less and less energy and feels even more miserable. And then the foundation is laid for postpartum depression.

The typical symptoms are: crying, depression, unable to feel happy, poor appetite, suicidal thoughts, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, poor self-confidence, guilt, obsessive thoughts and poor sleep.

Sleep disturbances are a frequent symptom of depression. If a woman has persistent problems sleeping after giving birth, even when the baby does not wake her, it may therefore be a sign of depression.

However, women who appear depressed may be exhausted due to a large sleep deficit due to waking at night and too much responsibility (e.g. with colic).

If you have severe postpartum depression, you must be treated with antidepressant medication. Certain types of antidepressant medication are excreted to some extent in breast milk.

Examination by your doctor is important for anyone with depression.

When the woman gets up at night to change or nurse her baby, she turns on a light to see. What she may not realise is that artificial lighting inhibits melatonin production. This means that she may have problems falling asleep when she needs to continue sleeping.

If this pattern is repeated more than once during the night, it can stop melatonin production altogether. The following evening, the woman finds it difficult to sleep because the secretion of melatonin has been disrupted and does not occur at the normal time.

It is recognised that, by blocking the blue light in the light spectrum, you can continue to produce melatonin, even if you are surrounded by bright light.

Just as melatonin production in the woman regulates her sleep, the same melatonin production helps regulate the baby's sleep quality, as melatonin is also present in breast milk. The amount of melatonin in breast milk varies during the day and night in line with the amount of melatonin in the woman's blood.

It is a fact that the pineal gland only produces melatonin when you are surrounded by darkness.

Before the introduction of electric lighting, people were surrounded by darkness for an average of 12 hours a day. Nowadays, most of us are lucky if we are surrounded by darkness for 7-8 hours a day. For a woman, melatonin production can easily drop to 4-5 hours a day after giving birth. This means that the period of time in which the blood contains melatonin is short.

The level of melatonin in babies becomes even around the third month after birth, with the highest levels measured between midnight and 10 am.

Portpartum depression and sleep glasses
Since lack of sleep and poor sleep are part of the disorder, using sleep glasses can be an alternative to turn the vicious circle into a good one. Sleep glasses increase the production of the signalling substance melatonin, which makes us sleepy and ensures a deeper sleep.

By wearing sleep glasses, which precisely filter out all the blue light, the woman can nurse her baby without disturbing her production of melatonin. This will make it easier for her to fall asleep again afterwards - and keep her circadian rhythm intact.

Sleep glasses can make both babies, their mothers - and their fathers - sleep better. With the help of sleep glasses, the nursing woman can ensure that she is giving milk with a high content of melatonin to her baby. In this way, via melatonin from the mother's milk, the baby is helped to fall asleep more easily and sleep well at night.

The woman should ensure that the time her body produces melatonin lasts approximately 9-10 hours a day. She does this by wearing sleep glasses for 1-2 hours before bedtime and staying in the dark during sleep, so she can achieve a total of 9-10 hours of melatonin production. It is important that she is not exposed to white light during the night when she is changing or nursing her baby. In those cases, she can simply put the sleep glasses back on or use night lighting, which does not emit the blue light in the light spectrum.

Research regarding postpartum depression

Below are a number of summaries/abstracts of scientific trials dealing with postpartum depression. The abstracts originate from medical records (copyright).