In Brief


An old wives' tale says eating cheese before bed causes nightmares, but the tasty treat may actually help you get more shut-eye. The British Cheese Board gave 200 volunteers one of six types of cheese a half-hour before bedtime for a week. Seventy-two percent reported that they slept welt and had pleasant dreams every night. Researchers at the University of Surrey and The Daily Council of Britain say cheese contains tryptophan, an amino acid that reduces stress and promotes steep.

Mammogram? Yes. Breast-cancer-gene test? Maybe
An annual mammogram can save your life, but you probably don't need a breast-cancer-gene test. National Cancer Institute researchers recently confirmed that mammograms reduce deaths by detecting the disease early enough to treat it. And the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts, now says most women don't require screening for breast-cancer-susceptibility genes. No more than 1 in 300 women has the genes, so only about 2 percent of women need the test. The most likely candidates fit one of these four scenarios: they have at least two close relatives who had breast cancer (one before age 50); three relatives with the disease (regardless of age); a combination of breast and ovarian cancer among close relatives; or a mother or sister with cancer in both breasts. All women 40 and older should have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.

A little fiber therapy heals hemorrhoids
Long considered the best trick to prevent hemorrhoids, fiber may be an ideal way to treat them, too. A comprehensive review of studies found that most people can get better by taking about 3 tablespoons of a powdery fiber like Metamucil or Benefiber daily for 2 to 3 days. Hemorrhoids are usually caused by constipation, and fiber makes it easier to go. To avoid the problem, get at least 20 grams a day of fiber from food (check labels or go to to find out fiber content), and drink 6 to 8 glasses daily of nonalcoholic beverages-water, of course, is best.

New moms: Rest when your baby naps
Attention, new mothers: Getting things done when your little one sleeps may seem smart, but it'll leave you exhausted. Instead, researchers recommend resting when your bundle of joy sleeps the longest--even if it's during the day--and handling chores when baby's awake but not demanding your attention. In a recent study, Karen Thomas, PhD, professor of family and child nursing, found that roughly half of new moms get less than 7 hours of sleep per day, largely because babies feed about 11 times in 24 hours. With that many interruptions, you need to sleep whenever you can. If you have a boy, that advice goes double. Male babies in the study slept less than girls, leaving their morns even more sleep-deprived.

Share this with your friends