Losing weight and belly fat improves sleep

Do you have trouble sleeping? If you’re carrying extra pounds, especially around your belly, losing weight and some of that muffin top may help you get better ZZZs. So say researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who presented their findings at this year’s annual meeting of the American Heart Association.

The Hopkins researchers recruited 77 overweight volunteers with either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Many reported sleep problems such as sleep apnea, daytime fatigue, insomnia, and restless or interrupted sleep. Half of the volunteers went on a weight-loss diet with supervised exercise training. The other half did just the diet. After six months, participants in both groups had lost an average of 15 pounds and reduced their belly fat by 15%. Sleep quality improved in both groups. A reduction in belly fat was the best predictor of improved sleep.

The results of this trial are in line with other studies exploring how weight affects sleep and sleep affects weight.

Linking weight loss, belly fat, and sleep

Excess weight and body fat increase the likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea. This condition occurs when the airway becomes blocked, either completely or partially, during sleep. These temporary blockages causes frequent awakenings which, in turn, increase the risk for conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

“So one possibility with the results of this study is that weight loss reduced sleep apnea and improved sleep quality,” says sleep expert Dr. Lawrence Epstein, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. Weight loss also improves blood sugar control which, in people with diabetes or prediabetes, could reduce restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorders, two sleep disorders that people with diabetes are prone to having.

Exercise has also been shown to improve sleep quality. For example, Oregon State University researchers found that people who exercised at least 150 minutes a week slept better and felt more alert during the day than those who didn’t exercise much. (Don’t exercise right before bedtime, however. That can make it difficult to fall asleep.)

Why reducing belly fat might be a key to improved sleep remains a mystery. We do know that fat deposited around the abdomen, called visceral fat, is associated with heart disease, diabetes, dementia, breast and colon cancers, and other chronic health conditions. Losing belly fat, then, seems like a logical way to improve not only sleep but also overall health. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.

Where you lose weight is partly determined by genetics,” says Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an expert on physical activity’s role in promoting health and preventing chronic disease. “Generally, if you lose weight, some of this will occur in belly fat. You just can’t predict how much.”

Improving sleep

Despite what thousands of websites want you to believe, there are no exercises or potions that “melt away” belly fat. Instead, the solution is old-fashioned exercise and a healthy diet.

If you are serious about losing weight and sleeping better, aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (like swimming or brisk walking) each week. You don’t have to do five 30-minute workouts. More but shorter exercise sessions, such as three 10-minute brisk walks instead of one 30-minute walk, will have the same impact, says Dr. Lee.

Exercise alone generally doesn’t lead to substantial weight loss. That requires cutting back on daily calories.

The lasting effects of combining exercise and weight loss will go far beyond improving your long winter’s nap and well into a healthy future.


  1. Rob Taylor

    This is a great article and not something that a lot of people realise. Proper nutrition and exercise can help with all manner of lifestyle problems. There is some amazing information at my blog howtolosestomachfattoday.weebly.com if you are interested.

    Use common sense with regards to diet and exercise and you won’t go far wrong.

  2. Matt

    Health should be our only concern in life really…in my opinion its the most important. I love helping people make a decision to change their lives and become an individual who cares about their health!

  3. Jenny

    Such a great and informative post. This is really helpful for people who wants to have a healthy body. Keep posting!

  4. Junpit

    In the last five years, we had many new research conducted by scientists, doctors and nutritionists, examining how and why our bodies both store and use belly fat. Results show that getting rid of stubborn belly fat is not necessarily about the amount of calories, grams of fat, or number of crunches. In fact, researchers have dismissed all the things we believe for so many decades about losing belly fat and getting a toned, flat stomach.

    The good news about the new research is that it also found out that losing belly fat is faster, easier and more pleasant than we used to believe for many decades. Losing belly fat does not need long hours in the gym and any fancy equipment or gadgets. Ultimately, starvation is also not required. All you need is a commitment to live with healthier and better looking body. Are you interested of the recent research and findings?

  5. Aja

    Nice post. Yes it is true that your eight effect sleep. It is very important to stay healthy and reduce your weight to get good night sleep. There are various information available for weight loss and belly fat reduction. howlosebellyfatfast.com also gives information on belly fat reduction.

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  7. Abdul Razzaq

    Weight loss is a concern for many people, and something that can be difficult to achieve. Acupuncture is one treatment that can be used in weight loss.

  8. S.Garland

    I can attest personally that as I have gained weight, I have not slept as well. I have had to begin using a C-PAP since I now have sleep apnea.

  9. www.buykmlida.com

    Not only sleep, losing belly fat and overall weight helps improve lifestyle in general.

  10. James

    An interesting article. I hadn’t considered the implication of belly fat on sleep. I am writing a blog on loosing back fat and this would be useful back ground information.

    As you say, the only real cure is exercise and better diet. All the benefits flow from the resulting weight loss, such as better sleep and alertness during the day.

  11. Jenni K

    Not only sleep, losing belly fat and overall weight helps improve lifestyle in general.

  12. Rusty Solomon

    For healthy and fit and balanced longevity, it is really necessary to reduce your weight. Appropriate food diet and frequent workouts will definitely help you to decrease your body fat.

  13. Anonymous

    Psyllium is the husk of the seed of the Plantain and is a top herb used in weight control and for general intestinal health. Also, it is very important that when you take psyllium husk, you drink extra water to ensure that the psyllium can move through the colon with ease. It is also best that you begin with a low dose and slowly build up to the recommended dose.

  14. jaggerroxana

    Good post……
    When you sitting all the day in front of computer or TV, you gain extra fats or you can say belly fats. Proper diet and regular exercises will definitely help you to reduce your fats. If you want to join any gym or health club, first you need to decide how many pounds you want to lose.


    Also a high-fat diet can disrupt sleep patterns orexina.Un regarding the laboratory test conducted on rodents in a sleep-wake cycle of 24 hours found that when animals were fed a diet high in saturated fats slept in the times when they would normally be awake and active, and it took longer to fall asleep and this was more fragmented, agitated and inquieto.La orexin is a brain chemical that helps stabilize the sleep-wake cycle, the researchers found that high-fat diet reduced sensitivity to orexin and therefore this type of diet led to poor sleep quality

  16. Rodger Somers

    Very interesting. It seems like every month more and more evidence shows how important it is to lose abdominal fat, for both fitness and overall health!

  17. Kitty

    For fit and healthy long life, it is really necessary to lose your weight. Proper food diet and regular exercises will definitely help you to reduce your fats.

  18. Belly Fat Cure

    Overweight do have effect on sleep, studies has shown it and also i have observe it from a friend who has problem with sleeping because of being obese.

  19. book publishing tips

    Very informative, i read recently obesity is connected to loss of sleep.

  20. reduce tummy fat

    thank you for this blog i happy for this informathion

  21. Stefan Sarjusingh

    Yes this is quite true, I experienced this when I lost weight…..

  22. Jacqueline36

    What an interesting chicken or egg study! I am wondering what changed in the people losing weight — besides weight loss — that triggered the change. Maybe exercising as part of their diet helped them feel less stressed out? Maybe their diet changed the state of their hormones? There is a powerful connection between stress, diet, belly fat, the adrenals — and sleep! Glad to see this issue being taken seriously!

  23. Kate

    For fit and healthy long life, it is really necessary to lose your weight. Proper food diet and regular exercises will definitely help you to reduce your fats.

  24. Décoration

    Too many cheeseburger and sitting all day at the computer = extra pounds
    some sport is good for health

  25. Décoration

    This is true overweight and stress affect sleep.
    nice post

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