Effects of sleep deprivation, with Dr. Kimberly Fenn

The Birthful Podcast: Episode #112

If you have a baby in your life, it’s a given that you’re not getting enough sleep, but how does that deprivation affect your mind, body and mood? How does it relate to weight gain?  Can your body adapt to the lack of sleep? Do micro-naps help or hinder? What about regular naps? Dr. Kimberly Fenn has answers. Check it out.


To listen here, click the play button on the player above, or click the button below to listen in iTunes.

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What we talked about:

  • Why is sleep important
  • What are the effects of sleep deprivation?
  • Can you catch up on lost sleep (aka pay back your sleep debt)?
  • Quantity vs quality: what has more impact?
  • Does the time you go to bed affect quality of sleep?
  • How helpful are naps?
  • Do micro-naps help, or make things more difficult?
  • Does your body adapt to less sleep?
  • How can you make the most of the little sleep you are getting?
  • The importance of your sleep environment
  • Adjusting your schedule to prepare for life with a new baby
  • Light and your circadian rhythm
  • How lack of sleep contributes to weight gain


This episode is brought to you by

Reverie power beds:

winner of the Woman’s Choice Award 6 years straight, and loved by exhausted moms everywhere.

Learn more at MomsNeedSleep.com/birthful

and also by Megan Othling, of


Additional resources and articles:



Kimberly Fenn, assistant professor of psychology, poses in the studio on Thursday June 12, 2014.

Courtesy of Kimberly Fenn

[mark]About Dr. Kimberly Fenn [/mark]

Kimberly Fenn, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience program in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University. She obtained her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Dr. Fenn’s research program focuses broadly on the acquisition and consolidation of long-term memory and procedural skills. Her primary area of expertise lies in sleep-dependent memory consolidation, or offline processing of memory. Specifically, her work investigates how a period of sleep affects a memory representation. Within this framework, Dr. Fenn investigates how sleep affects declarative memory, procedural learning, and false memory. More recently, she has pursued a line of research investigating the extent to which lack of sleep, or sleep deprivation, affects learning and memory.

Dr. Fenn’s work has received broad scientific and popular interest. She was a recipient of the 2016 Early Career Award from the Psychonomic Society and is funded by the National Science Foundation. She has been featured on the BBC Radio 4 program All in the Mind and The Academic Minute and her work has been featured in many online and print outlets, such as Reddit, IFLScience, the Huffington Post, among many others.

Learn more at psychology.msu.edu/SleepLab/ and helpinghands.psy.msu.edu



Like the music on the podcast?:

Title music:Vibe Aceby Kevin MacLeod, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

Sponsorship music:Air Hockey Saloon” by Chris Zabriskie, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

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