ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
CANCER
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
EYE CARE, VISION
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
FITNESS
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
What you need to know about swine flu.
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Add your Article

Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat

FRIDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- New moms who can't zip up their pre-pregnancy jeans might not be catching enough zzzs.

Getting a good night's sleep, in fact, may be just as important as diet and exercise for shedding baby weight.

One study of new mothers found that those who slept five or fewer hours a day six months after giving birth were three times as likely to hold onto those extra pounds as were women who got seven or more hours of sleep.

Short sleep duration "stood out as an independent risk factor" for weight retention, said Erica P. Gunderson, a research scientist and epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., who worked on the study.

For many women, postpartum weight retention is a serious issue because it can lead to long-term weight gain. Some studies show that up to 20 percent of women retain at least 11 pounds at six to 18 months after giving birth, Finnish researchers reported.

Lifestyle factors that lead to postpartum weight retention -- including a woman's diet, physical activity and sleep patterns -- have not been well studied, researchers report. But as every bleary-eyed new mother knows, slumber is frequently disrupted or cut short in the first year after a baby's birth.

"Sleep deprivation can cause changes in the levels of hormones involved in appetite regulation," explained Dr. Sirimon Reutrakul, a clinical associate in medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

"Keep in mind, though, that there are multiple factors involved in causing postpartum women to sleep less," she said. "These include just having a newborn, having other small children at home, possible postpartum depression, illness of the newborns, if any, work, etcetera," she said.

In Gunderson's study, the sleep and weight retention patterns of 940 Massachusetts women were analyzed. A year after giving birth, 124 of the women had retained 11 or more of the pounds they had put on during their pregnancy.

Short sleep duration was associated with a threefold higher risk of substantial weight retention, when compared with women who got seven hours of sleep. How long a woman breast-fed, however, was not a significant factor.

Dr. Truls Ostbye, a professor and vice chairman of research in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, is currently leading a study designed to promote weight loss in overweight women after childbirth. Preliminary data from that study show that "women who sleep less at six weeks lose less weight from six weeks to 12 months," Ostbye said.

But the relationship between sleep and weight loss isn't that simple. After adjusting for the fact that heavier women lose less weight and sleep less, "the effect of sleep on weight loss nearly goes away," he said.

"The relationship between obesity and sleep is there," he added, "but it is as likely that less sleep is a result of obesity as the other way around."

Advising women to get more sleep may not get to the root of their sleep-deprivation problem, Reutrakul said, "although stressing the importance of a good night's sleep is a good idea."

SOURCES: Erica P. Gunderson, Ph.D., research scientist and epidemiologist, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif.; Sirimon Reutrakul, M.D., clinical associate, medicine, Section of Endocrinology, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago; Truls Ostbye, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., professor and vice chairman, research, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; Nutrition Journal; American Journal of Preventive Medicine; American Journal of Epidemiology