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Guided Imagery Improves Sleep in Mothers of Hospitalized Preterm Infants

06 Oct

Researchers from the School of Nursing at California State University, Fullerton, examined the impact of an eight-week relaxation guided imagery intervention on the sleep quality of 20 mothers of hospitalized, preterm infants.They also looked at the association between sleep quality and maternal distress (perceived stress, depressive symptoms and state anxiety).

Mothers received a CD with three 20-minute relaxation/guided imagery recordings and were asked to listen to at least one of the tracks daily for eight weeks. 

This analysis used self-report data gathered at baseline and eight weeks. Complete data on 19 mothers were available for analysis. 

At eight weeks, higher mean relaxation guided imagery use was inversely correlated with sleep quality scores (r = -0.30); and sleep quality scores were positively correlated with stress (r = 0.42), depressive symptoms (r = 0.34), and anxiety (r = 0.39) scores. 

The investigators conclude that in mothers of preterm infants, sleep quality was negatively affected by mental distress, and can be improved by a guided imagery intervention.

Citation: Schaffer L, Jallo N, et al. Guided imagery: an innovative approach to improving maternal sleep quality. Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing. 2013 Apr-Jun; 27 (2): pp.151-9. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award