New moms, if you want to shed your pregnancy pounds, get at least seven hours of sleep every day. A team of international researchers has carried out a study and found that mothers who don't get enough sleep after childbirth are less likely to get their figures back quickly as lack of rest triggers hormonal changes which make women hungrier, the
"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," lead researcher Erica Gunderson said.
In fact, Gunderson of the Harvard Medical School and her fellow researchers discovered the link between sleep deprivation and the inability to lose those extra pounds after diagnosing 1,000 new mothers.
They found that those who were sleeping for five hours or less when their babies were six months old "are three times more likely to be carrying an extra 11 pounds at their baby's first birthday than mothers who got seven hours".
"The message is that getting a proper amount of sleep isn't a luxury, it's essential for the health of new mums and presents an ideal opportunity for dads to help out with the baby," Dr David Haslam, the Clinical Director of the UK's National Obesity Forum, was quoted as saying.