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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Jan;19(1):171-8. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.117. Epub 2010 May 20.

Association of maternal short sleep duration with adiposity and cardiometabolic status at 3 years postpartum.

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Obesity Prevention Program, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The purpose of this study was to examine the association of short sleep duration among women in the first year postpartum with adiposity and cardiometabolic status at 3 years postpartum. We studied 586 women in Project Viva, a prospective cohort. At 6 months and 1 year postpartum, women reported the number of hours they slept in a 24-h period, from which we calculated a weighted average of daily sleep. We used multivariable regression analyses to predict the independent effects of short sleep duration (≤5 h/day vs. >5 h/day) on adiposity, glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, and adipokines at 3 years postpartum. Women's mean (s.d.) hours of daily sleep in the first year postpartum was 6.7 (0.97) h. After adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, education, parity, prepregnancy BMI, and excessive gestational weight gain, we found that postpartum sleep ≤5 h/day was associated with higher postpartum weight retention (β 1.50 kg; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.02, 2.86), higher subscapular + triceps skinfold thickness (β 3.94 mm; 95% CI: 1.27, 6.60) and higher waist circumference (β 3.10 cm; 95% CI: 1.25, 4.94) at 3 years postpartum. We did not observe associations of short sleep duration with measures of cardiometabolic status at 3 years postpartum. In conclusion, short sleep duration in the first year postpartum is associated with higher adiposity at 3 years postpartum.

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