The scale shows you've gained weight, barely any of the clothes in your closet fit you anymore and you can never seem to get a good night's rest. You're overweight... and you know it.
While the extra belly fat is seriously bothering you, not being able to get enough shut-eye every night is concerning you more. Is there anything that you can do to improve your quality of sleep?
A study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, in the USA, found that losing weight may help overweight people sleep better.
Of course, losing those few extra kilos around your waist will also slash your risk of increased blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, inflammation and other weight-related health risks. What have you got to lose?
If you’re overweight and want to improve your quality of sleep, you must lose weight, study says
The study was led by senior author Kerry Stewart, a professor of medicine and director of clinical and research exercise
physiology at the university. Stewart and her team of colleagues assessed 77 overweight
or obese people with pre-diabetes
or type 2 diabetes
. They then divided the subjects into two groups – those who only dieted to try and lose weight, and those who dieted as well as exercised to try and lose weight.
Stewart’s team also asked the subjects to fill out a sleep
survey at the beginning and end of their study. The survey required subjects to provide in-depth information on their sleeping problems, such as restless sleep, insomnia, daytime sleepiness, excessive sleep and sleep apnea. Also at the beginning and end of the study, Stewart’s team measured the subjects’ BMI (or body mass index) and belly fat
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Here’s the plain truth. Diets alone don’t work.
How many diets have you been on, weight loss pills you’ve consumed, injections you’ve had to endure? You might have lost some weight but it’s probably all back on again…
The truth is that there is no magic solution to make the weight drop off.
The secret to successful weight loss isn’t starving yourself nor is it limiting your food choices or following a painful pattern of eating.
At the end of the study, which went on for six months, only 55 subjects remained. On average, subjects in both groups lost 15% belly fat
and 6.8 kg of weight. Plus, all of the subjects said that they were sleeping a lot better at the end of the study. Stewart’s team noted a 20% increase in sleep quality in both groups.
Senior study author says that losing belly fat in particular can help improve your quality of sleep
Stewart reported in a Hopkins news release, “We found that improvement in sleep quality was significantly associated with overall weight loss
, especially belly fat.”
“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
,” Stewart added.
To conclude, Stewart noted that quality sleep is essential to both your mental and physical health. When you don’t sleep enough or well enough, your risk of stroke, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure
and heart attack skyrocket. And, in people who are obese, sleeping problems are most common. So make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye... not only so that you wake up feeling fresh and energised, but also for the sake of your health!
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