Scientists to New Moms: Get Your Beauty Sleep (Yeah, right!)
On the heels of a study that shows that kids who do not get enough sleep have higher obesity rates, comes this:
Researchers presented a conundrum to new mothers on Monday, saying that women who want to lose the extra weight gained in pregnancy should try to get more sleep.Uh. great. I am SO glad that now that we know being up ALL NIGHT with a screaming baby might be keeping new moms from losing that baby weight may finally have scientists "working on new studies" to get babies and their mothers to sleep more. I mean, it was no problem at all for me to spend the wee hours of countless nights walking back and forth trying to comfort an alternately whimpering and howling baby in my arms - that is, until I found out that this was what might be keeping those pesky pounds from coming off. Because until now, it was perfectly bearable - even enjoyable, right? Thanks for the handy tip, Harvard geniuses! I wonder why getting more sleep didn't occur to me when I was a new mom? Us mothers will be sure to mention it to our colicky babies so that they can take their moms' weight loss needs into account before they make their evening plans!
They found that mothers who slept five hours or less a day when their babies were six months old were three times more likely than more rested mothers to have kept on the extra weight at one year.
"We've known for some time that sleep deprivation is associated with weight gain and obesity in the general population, but this study shows that getting enough sleep — even just two hours more — may be as important as a healthy diet and exercise for new mothers to return to their pre-pregnancy weight," said Erica Gunderson of Kaiser Permanente, which runs hospitals and clinics in California.
Gunderson and colleagues studied 940 women taking part in a study of prenatal and postnatal health at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
The women who slept five hours or less a night when their babies were six months old were more likely to have kept on 11 pounds of weight one year after giving birth, they found.
Women who slept seven hours a night or more lost more weight, they reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The researchers acknowledged this may pose a dilemma to new mothers, given that infants sleep so fitfully.
"With the results of this study, new mothers must be wondering, 'How can I get more sleep for both me and my baby?' Our team is working on new studies to answer this important question," said Dr. Matthew Gillman of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.