Prioritizing work over a workout routine is what we end up doing eventually, whatever our new year’s resolution might be. Let’s face it, hitting the gym during a busy day is just not everyone’s piece of cake, especially if we are not well rested and drained of energy. The problem however arises when we wake up to a fat belly along with a guilty feeling for not trying hard enough to lose weight.
What’s pretty shocking however, is this recent scientific discovery that’s making waves these days. It suggests that the most important ingredient for losing weight is not simply hitting the gym and sweating over a tough workout. Even if you are working out fine but not sleeping enough, chances are that you are gaining weight rather than losing it.
Which makes us wonder:
Does Sleeping Really Help You Lose Weight?
Recently, an epidemiological study was carried out to obtain evidence of whether short sleep duration is linked to obesity in adults and children. The research concludes by providing proof of an increase in the likelihood of weight gain among adults and children who received less than seven hours of sleep at night. (Michelle A. Miller, 2008) This suggests that a good night’s sleep is in fact the crucial ingredient for weight loss.
The question then arises that how can we tweak our sleep routines in a way to achieve maximum fat loss while we sleep.
How to Lose Weight While Sleeping
Even though a diet plan is crucial to your weight loss journey, it’s not the only thing to do when you are reducing your weight. In addition to that, you need to adopt a healthy sleep routine. Here are some simple yet actionable tips that will help you burn belly fat and lose more weight while you are sound asleep:
Sleeping early sounds pretty easy. All we need to do is hit the bed earlier than our normal routines and drift off to a blissful dream. However, night is usually the most peaceful time of the entire day, when we get the time to actually catch up with what’s going on around us. That comes with its own cost, because scientists have also provided evidence for the release of hormones that increase food cravings within sleep deprived people.
The longer you stay up, the more you are going to eat. Better yet, just go to sleep and remove the temptation altogether!
Don’t Use Electronic Devices
When we talk about ‘catching up with what’s going on around us’, it is the electronic devices we get to thank. The irony however is that whether it is a television, iPad, smartphone or a laptop; exposure to their night time glow hinders our chance at a good night’s sleep.
In fact it has been proven that these electronic devices emit blue light which is known to delay the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for our sleep cycle. The later we sleep, the more we eat, the less energetic we are the following day and the less likely we are to hit the gym to shed some weight.
This might be the most difficult thing to do, but if you want to keep your waistline in check, you shall do well by keeping your electronic devices out of your reach when it’s bed time.
Turn Off the Lights
The exposure to blue light we just talked about is not only limited to the digital screens and electronic media. In fact the very fluorescent or LED lights which we use at our homes emit blue light, thus disrupting our circadian rhythms. Therefore, once you vow to lose weight while sleeping, keeping a light on no longer remains a possibility, however afraid of the dark, you might be.
It’s time to switch on your air conditioners and let some cold into your room because the cooler you sleep, the more weight you lose!
A simple enough explanation for this one is the fact that the lower your body temperature is, the more calories your body will need to burn to produce heat in order to keep you warm. If we go deeper into the scientific details, we find out that a colder room promotes release of the body’s store of thinning fats, which are known for their ability to promote fat burn instead of fat storage.
Apart from that, the release of melatonin, the sleep inducing hormone, is promoted by a lower body temperature, which in turn ensures that you get a deeper and more fulfilling sleep during the night.
This might sound like a crazy idea, however it has been proven to be a pretty effective aid for your weight loss journey. Sleeping cooler helps burn calories, however an air conditioner is not the only way to drop your room’s temperature. A feasible way is to sleep naked.
We all know how clothes trap heat and keep us warm. Since staying warm isn’t really sleep friendly, simply take off your clothes while sleeping and ensure that your body keeps burning calories while you sleep soundly.
Activate your body’s ‘thinning’ fats
Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad for your body. Certain fats, known commonly as thinning fats, activate calorie burning proteins which in turn helps you to fight obesity.
Other than sleeping in a cool bedroom as we discussed above, you can trigger the release of such fats by maintaining a consistent sleep and wake cycle, whereby your circadian rhythm undergoes no disruption. This in turn also releases the sleep hormone melatonin, which we now know for its ability to promote weight loss.
Exercising 3 hours before bedtime
There has been much debate on whether exercising before bed help you in your weight loss journey or not. While the results of different experiments performed by various researchers do not quite match exactly, it has been generally agreed that workout before 3 hours of bedtime does in fact help you lose belly fat.
Resistance training is generally recommended as the ideal workout at this time of the day, because it increases your metabolic rate for a longer time period, thus enabling you to lose weight while sleeping.
Exercising at any time of the day is linked with a good night’s sleep, however an exhaustive workout just before you hop into the bed can cause you to get alert and prevent you from a deep sleep. Therefore, in case the night is the only time of the day you can squeeze in a workout, make sure you do it at least 3 hours before you lay down. After all, a late night workout is way better than no workout at all.
Drink a protein shake before going to sleep
Post-workout protein shakes have gained popularity due to their ability to help refuel the muscles and aid in gaining muscle mass. However, a recent study has proven that taking a protein shake right before hitting the bed actually helps you reduce weight.
This is because protein intake increases your metabolism to aid in muscle growth. Enhanced metabolic rate means greater amount of calories are burnt during the night as you sleep. If the same protein shake is taken after a small session of resistance training, 3 hours before you go to bed, the results can be greatly enhanced.
What you need to watch out for however, is your total caloric intake of the day, since consumption of protein shake can increase it and result in weight gain instead. It is therefore recommended to keep the calorie count in check.
Moreover, the type of protein consumed in a shake also affects your weight loss journey. For example a whey rich protein shake is easily digested and therefore not so effective for burning fat. A casein rich protein shake will digest gradually, thereby keeping your body’s metabolic rate active for a longer period of time during the night and helping you shed the extra pounds.
Eat Your Carbs During the Day
While a protein intake at night is related to an increase in fat loss, the same cannot be said about a carb rich diet. This has been explained by an extensive study that provides evidence of your body’s ability to burn more carbs during the day.
However, since carbs are often associated with weight gain pertaining to the idea that excess carbs get converted to fat and therefore cause weight gain, people often end up shunning carbohydrates altogether from their diets. What we often don’t realize is that not all carbs are bad.
Simple carbs such as sugar, fruit juice and honey are an immediate source of energy and must be taken in a small amount. However, complex carbs such as oats and brown rice are packed with fiber and take longer to digest, thereby keeping you full for a longer period of time. Such carbs are good carbs and should be made a part of your regular diet during the day.
Skip the chocolate
While consuming a normal chocolate bar increases your caloric intake for the day, eating one before sleeping even if you ensure a caloric deficit might not be a good idea. As we suggested above, excessive carbs taken at night get stored as fat, since your body’s ability to burn carbs during the night is less as compared to that in the morning.
This doesn’t however suggest that you can consume a bar of dark chocolate at night instead. Even though dark chocolate is relatively low in sugar, yet it has a high percentage of caffeine. Caffeine prevents you from a deep sleep, making you alert instead. Since by now we understand how a good sleep pattern is essential for your weight loss journey, the chocolate bar will have to wait for the day to be consumed!
Have more sex
While a healthy sex routine with your partner is linked with an increase in the release of endorphins that reduce stress, it is generally agreed that having more sex also helps in weight loss.
In addition to helping you in a good night’s sleep (reduced stress helps you sleep more peacefully), sex is a great cardiovascular exercise that increases the body’s metabolic rate and helps you lose more weight while you sleep. You might have thought of it as a myth but the truth is that a 30 minutes long session of sex burns around 85 to 150 calories. So the more often you have sex, the more calories you burn and the faster you are able to shed those extra pounds.
Even more interesting is the fact that changing positions frequently while having sex works like interval training, which is considered one of the ideal workout programs. The standing, lotus, doggy style and cowgirl positions are often considered the ideal sex positions for burning maximum calories.
Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
The notion that a glass of alcohol helps you to sleep better at night is a false one. This is because of a number of reasons, the first and foremost being the fact that the more alcohol you drink, the more you need to urinate at night, which disrupts your sleep.
Other than that, upon alcohol intake, your body starts focusing on metabolizing alcohol, hence preventing you from spending a greater time in the REM state of sleep. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep is where the body is stimulated to burn the most calories. Lower time spent in the REM sleep stage therefore decreases the amount of calories burned during the night.
Sip White Tea
Here’s a good news for all the tea lovers out there. Sipping white tea before you go to bed might yet be the ultimate solution for weight loss, provided a healthy and active lifestyle is in check. This is because white tea does not only give a major boost to your metabolism, but also helps to slow the synthesis of fat producing cells while helping to break down the existing ones. Besides white tea, green tea has also been used as a way to loose weight.
Having discussed some of the major ways to burn fat while you sleep, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
Are there sleeping positions that help you sleep away fat?
Since we know that the quality of sleep affects our weight loss journey, therefore the sleeping position that causes weight loss must be subjective to your comfort. Whichever position helps you sleep soundly helps in the reduction of your weight.
However, Supine position, which involves sleeping on your back, is most commonly suggested by doctors as the best sleeping position for your health. When you sleep on your back, with your neck splurged on a comfortable pillow, the entire weight of your body is evenly distributed on the spine, helping you to sleep peacefully.
Other than that, sleeping on your left side brings along benefits for your cardiovascular system, which further aids you reach a fitful sleep. In addition, doctors often recommend placing a pillow between your knees to help with the adjustment of your weight.
Are there any foods that burn fat while you sleep?
As long as you are wake, the temptation to binge eat will stay with you. Rather than resisting that temptation, you can instead utilize it to help lose weight while you sleep. There are certain foods that you can consume before going to bed without feeling guilty. These include:
It contains less carbs and is rich in proteins that increases your metabolism and aids in muscle growth.
By improving your cholesterol levels and reducing hunger, almonds help to reduce weight.
Chicken is a powerhouse of protein and the best way to utilize its fat burning properties is by eating grilled chicken that is low on fat.
Often recommended to people with type 2 diabetes, grape fruit is known for its ability to regulate blood sugar level as well as burning fat.
Weight loss is a complex journey and is dependent on a number of factors that must be taken along side by side. However hard you work out, if you are not getting enough sleep or you are not eating the right food, the figures on your weight machine won’t decrease. Therefore, adopt a healthier lifestyle and make sure that your beauty sleep is never compromised!
Table of Contents
- Does Sleeping Really Help You Lose Weight?
- How to Lose Weight While Sleeping
- Are there sleeping positions that help you sleep away fat?
- Are there any foods that burn fat while you sleep?