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Thu May 28 08:02:53 SAST 2015

Losing belly fat can help you sleep better: study

AFP Relaxnews | 08 November, 2012 14:26

A new study finds that not only can weight loss improve your sleep, but losing belly fat in particular enahnces the quality of your zzzs.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US enrolled 77 overweight or obese subjects who had type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes in a six-month program.

The subjects were then randomly assigned to one of two groups, one group went on a weight-loss diet with exercise training, while the second group only had diet intervention. Before the study, subjects also were interviewed about their sleep issues, such as insomnia, daytime fatigue, and sleep apnoea.

After six months, both groups lost about 15 pounds/6.8 kilos and about 15% of their belly fat. Also, interestingly, both groups also improved their overall sleep score by about 20% with no differences between the groups.

"We found that improvement in sleep quality was significantly associated with overall weight loss, especially belly fat," says senior author Kerry Stewart, professor of medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology.

"The key ingredient for improved sleep quality from our study was a reduction in overall body fat, and, in particular belly fat, which was true no matter the age or gender of the participants or whether the weight loss came from diet alone or diet plus exercise," she adds.

Stewart presented her team's research at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Los Angeles.

Prior research has linked obesity with poorer sleep, but there is a catch-22: experts recently advised in the September issue of Canadian Medical Association Journal that in order to lose weight, you'll need to ensure you get sufficient rest.

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