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Shedding weight is good for your sleep.. File picture: Leon Lestrade

London - Losing weight, especially from around your waist, may significantly improve your sleep quality, new research suggests.

US scientists have found that people who lose around 6-7kg in weight – and reduced their waistline by around 15 percent slept much better, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

They enrolled 77 people who had type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.

The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups.

One group went on a diet and had supervised exercise training, while the other group only had the diet intervention.

The participants filled out a sleep survey at the beginning and end of the study to identify sleep problems, including sleep apnoea, daytime fatigue, insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleep or sleepiness and use of sedatives to aid sleep.

Their body mass index and amount of abdominal fat were also measured at the start and end of the study.

Both groups lost about 7kg of weight on average.

They also lost about the same amount of belly fat, which was assessed by magnetic resonance imaging.

Although a variety of sleep problems were reported by the participants, none stood out as being the most common, so the researchers analysed a composite score, which reflected overall sleep health.

They found that both groups improved their overall sleep score by about 20 percent, with no differences between the groups.

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

Sleep apnoea is already linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, daytime fatigue and high blood pressure.

Good sleep quality is important in general for good physical and mental health, as well as for a healthy cardiovascular system, added Stewart.

Depending on the cause, chronic sleep disruptions increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and irregular heartbeats. Obesity increases the risk of sleep problems. – Daily Mail

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