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Lose weight to improve your sleep study

  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Thursday 15th November 2012

A new study has found that losing weight can directly help obese or overweight people get a better night’s sleep.

The study was conducted at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Maryland, USA and looked at 77 participants with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. All the participants were either overweight or obese and were randomly divided into two groups. The first group were put on a weight loss plan and exercise regime, while the second group only received a diet counselling. The two groups were followed for 6 months. The participants completed the Hopkins Sleep Survey at the start and the end of the study to determine if they had any sleep problems such as sleep apnoea, insomnia, daytime fatigue etc. 55 of the original 77 completed the entire study.

At the start of the study all participants were measured to see how much abdominal fat they carried and BMI. Both groups on average lost around 15 pounds in weight and around 15 pounds of abdominal fat which was determined using an MRI. Although a variety of different sleep problems were reported by a number of participants none of them stood out as being the most common throughout the group.

The research found that losing weight, especially around the abdominal area would help to get a better night sleep. It showed that whatever age or gender if the participants were to exercise, change in diet or both would help them have a good night’s sleep.

Being overweight has been linked to sleep apnoea, relating to the excessive tissue around the airway preventing easy breathing while asleep. It is for this reason that one of the first recommended steps to alleviating sleep apnoea is weight loss and a lifestyle change as adopted by the John Hopkins University investigation. 


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