Insomnia and depression are highly prevalent perinatal complications. Ruminating on stress is etiologically implicated in both disorders, and ruminating while trying to fall asleep has been linked to insomnia and depression during pregnancy. Incompatible with rumination is everyday mindfulness, i.e., living with intentional and nonjudgmental awareness of internal and external experiences in the present moment. Responding to stress mindfully may protect against stress-related perinatal complications such as insomnia and depression. The present study described the association between everyday mindfulness and nocturnal rumination, and examined whether these trait characteristics were independently related to perinatal insomnia and depression.
Cross-sectional and secondary analysis of existing data from 65 pregnant women recruited from a multisite hospital in Metro Detroit, MI, USA. Subjects completed online surveys including the Insomnia Severity Index, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, Presleep Arousal Scale, and the revised Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale.
Over half (53.8%) of women screened positive for clinical insomnia and 12.3% screened positive for major depression. Women high in mindfulness, relative to those low in mindfulness, reported less nocturnal rumination (Cohen’s d=1.16), insomnia symptoms (Cohen’s d=1.24), and depressive symptoms (Cohen’s d=1.35). Multivariate linear regression revealed that both mindfulness (β=-.24, p=.03) and rumination (β=.38, p<.01) were independently associated with insomnia. Similarly, a multivariate model showed that mindfulness (β=-.41, p<.001) and rumination (β=.35, p<.01) were independently associated with depression.
Ruminating in bed at night is strongly associated with insomnia and depression during pregnancy, whereas mindfulness may potentially protect against these stress-related perinatal complications.

Copyright © 2019 National Sleep Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.