Dietary approaches to stop high blood pressure reduce the risk of sleep disturbances in mothers and infants

Individuals who adhere to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) dietary pattern (DP) are less likely to have sleep disturbances, especially for mothers and their children. Since diet and sleep are such prominent components of maternal health, the researchers decided to assess how dietary adherence affects sleep health.

Assessment of dietary adherence and outcomes

Samira Karbasi, Department of Molecular Medicine, College of Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Center, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, and a team of researchers included 350 breastfeeding mothers in their analysis. A set of questionnaires was used to assess psychological functions: Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ), Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS), Spielberger Anxiety Questionnaire (SAQ), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and Infant Sleep Questionnaire (ISQ). ).

Symptoms of severe insomnia affect 14-76% of expectant mothers and 87.5% of postpartum women. Investigators said suffering from sleep disturbances during pregnancy could affect the offspring’s sleep patterns.

In addition, inflammatory cytokine levels can increase due to the mother’s short sleep and obstructive sleep apnea, which may lead to impaired infant development. The investigators noted a two-way relationship between duration of participation in the diet and sleep quality in this population.

Common Maternal Mental Disorder (CMD) is a leading cause of illness among low- and middle-income communities. The presence of this disorder, which is characterized by depression, anxiety and additional physical symptoms, indicates a potential risk of impaired development of the infant.

Dash diet

The DASH diet has been around for 30 years and is still recommended by doctors for the management of high blood pressure. A structured diet is known for its ability to reduce your intake of salt, saturated fats, and trans fats. It also increases magnesium, potassium, calcium, fiber and protein which helps lower blood pressure. The system includes:

  • 6-8 daily servings of grains or grain products
  • 4-5 daily servings of vegetables and fruits
  • 2-3 daily servings of low-fat dairy products
  • Two servings per day of meat, poultry or fish
  • 2-3 daily servings of fats and oils
  • 2300 mg/day sodium
  • 4-5 weekly servings of nuts, seeds or dry beans
  • 5 weekly servings of sweets for every 2,000 calories consumed

Participating mothers and infants were recruited from 4 districts in Birjand, South Khorasan, Iran. Inclusion criteria consisted of having an infant aged 1 to 6 months, with no history of psychiatric disorders and aged 20-35 years. Additionally, those who had used anti-inflammatory drugs, antioxidants, or antidepressants within the past year were excluded.


Significantly lower degrees of sleep latency were observed in mothers with the highest adherence to DASH, as well as sleep disturbances and higher sleep efficiency compared to those with the lowest adherence.

When focusing on children of mothers with higher adherence to DASH, they showed a lower rate of sleep disturbances when compared to children of those with lower adherence.

After controlling for mother’s education, economic status, age, body mass index (BMI), and energy intake, adherence to the DASH pattern was associated with shorter sleep response time, fewer sleep disturbances in mothers and their infants, as well as higher maternal sleep efficiency,” the investigators wrote.

the study, “Association between adherence to dietary approaches to the Discontinuing Hypertension (DASH) diet and sleep disturbances in mothers and infantsPosted in BioMedCentral.