Losing beer belly may help boost sleep quality
Shedding those extra pounds - especially from around your waist - may significantly improve your sleep quality, a new research by US scientists has suggested.
The researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. found that people who lose around a stone in weight - and reduced their waistline by around 15 per cent slept much better, the Daily Mail reported.
On the other hand, those who are overweight or obese will continue to have problems, they said.
For the study enrolled 77 people who had type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. The participants, all of whom were also overweight or obese, 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 15lb of weight, on average.
They also lost about the same amount of belly fat, which was assessed by magnetic resonance imaging.
Although the participants reported a variety of sleep problems, none stood out as being the most common, so the researchers analysed a composite score, which reflects overall sleep health.
They found that both groups improved their overall sleep score by about 20 per cent, with no differences between the groups.
"We found that improvement in sleep quality was significantly associated with overall weight loss, especially belly fat," the paper quoted Kerry Stewart, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology, as saying.
"This 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 Stewart.
Good sleep quality is important in general for good physical and mental health, as well as for a healthy cardiovascular system, she added.
Depending on the cause, chronic sleep disruptions increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and irregular heartbeats. And obesity is said to increase the risk of sleep problems.