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Losing Belly Fat Can Help You Sleep Better

Update Date: Nov 07, 2012 07:42 AM EST

For people who have problems sleeping at night, losing some belly fat can work wonders in increasing the quality and quantity of sleep.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported at the 2012 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Los Angeles that apart from oversleeping leading to weight gain, sleep and weight gain or loss has another direct link. According to a study conducted by them, they found that losing weight, especially belly fat, can increase the quality and quantity of sleep.

"We found that improvement in sleep quality was significantly associated with overall weight loss, especially belly fat," says Kerry Stewart, Ed.D., professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology.

The study was conducted over six months on 77 participants who were obese and suffered from Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. The participants were asked to fill out a form discussing their sleeping problems which included sleep apnea, fatigue, insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleep and use of sedatives.

The individuals were then divided into two groups. One group followed a weight loss program while the other group was set on a simple diet plan.

After six months, it was found that both groups lost an average of 6.8 kgs and saw a 15 percent reduction in belly fat. This led to the experience of better quality of sleep.

"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," said study author Kerry Stewart, a professor of medicine at John Hopkins, in a statement.

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