ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
CANCER
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
DASH Diet Has Extra Benefits for Women's Health
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
City Kids Find the Breathin' Is Easier Elsewhere
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Bed Bugs Bring No Disease Danger
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Want Sun Protection? Wear Red or Blue
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
8 Drugs Doctors Would Never Take
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
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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