If insomnia plagues you–and you happen to have a fatty belly–losing some of that fat can help you sleep more like a baby. Say so-long to your trouble sleeping.

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

The small study lasted six months and involved two groups of overweight or obese people who had trouble sleeping.

One group lost weight by dieting and exercising. The second group didn’t exercise but went on the diet.

Both groups experienced an average of 15 pounds lost, including belly fat.

A sleep score was calculated based on a questionnaire and other data, and at the end of the study, after the weight loss, both groups had an improvement of 20 percent in their sleep score.

Lose Weight, Especially Belly Fat, to Fight Insomnia and Sleep Better, Regardless of Gender or Age

That’s the study’s conclusion, says Stewart. The fact that the dieting-only group also had improved sleep shows that exercise wasn’t the greatest variable that led to improved sleep; it was the weight loss, regardless of how it was accomplished.

Of course, adding exercise to diet makes fat loss easier. Alleviation of insomnia is yet one more reason to focus more on losing weight.

What’s the best way to

lose belly fat with exercise?

It’s not crunches, sit-ups, side bends or abdominal twists.

It’s a combination of intense compound strength training and high intensity interval training (HIIT).

Be open minded to the possibility of learning that what you’ve been doing all along at the gym has been fruitless.

The best strength training exercises for losing belly fat (and helping you sleep better) include the squat, deadlift, leg press, bench press, overhead press, bent-over dumbbell row, sled push/pull and kettlebell swing.

When I was a personal trainer at a gym, I told my clients who wanted to lose belly fat to alternate strength training days with HIIT days.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building and fitness.
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Source: hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/losing_weight_especially_in_the_belly_improves_sleep_quality_according_to_a_johns_hopkins_study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood