A UNIVERSITY is looking for new mothers and non-mothers who are prepared to take part in a sleep study.

Durham University’s Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre (DISC) is looking for mothers with babies under three months old and non-mothers of reproductive age to take part in a study about new-mum sleep.

Many elements of being a new mum can affect sleep, including how mums feed their babies, where their babies sleep, and whether they experience postnatal depression.

This study will compare the sleep of new, first-time mothers who choose to either breastfeed or formula feed, with the sleep of women of the same age who are not mothers during the same period.

The aim is to find out how sleep patterns vary for all three groups of women, and how they relate to mood and daytime functioning.

All women must be over 18 and non-smokers and live in the North-East of England.

For five nights a month for six months, participants - and their babies where applicable - will wear an Actiwatch, which will be provided for the study.

Participants will also need to keep a sleep diary for the same five nights and spend one night in the sleep centre corresponding to when their baby is two to three, four, and six months.

Non-mothers will be age-matched to mothers and will also come into the centre, which is based in Hilton Cottage, Old Elvet, Durham.

The DISC team have worked with more than 5,000 parents and babies over the last 20 years, during which they have substantially increased parents’ understanding of babies’ sleep, how best to care for babies during the night, and how best to keep them safe when asleep.

The sleep centre is designed to replicate a domestic bedroom but is equipped with video cameras to record sleep patterns and movements, and mother-baby interaction during the night.

It was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2017 for its research into babies’ sleep.

Participants will follow their usual night-time routine and breakfast will be provided in the morning.

If you are interested in taking part, please contact Francesca Tugwell at francesca.tugwell@durham.ac.uk