Can you lose weight while you sleep? Well, according to research, not only does sleep help you shed fat… it is actually just as important to weight loss as diet and exercise.
As a matter of fact, this study indicates that insufficient sleep effectively undermines your weight loss efforts. Poor sleep may actually be the missing factor that is keeping a lot of people fat despite their diet and exercise efforts.
In this article we’ll look at some ways you can improve your sleep and speed up fat loss. But first, here are some of the reasons poor sleep may be preventing you from losing weight.
How sleep helps you lose weight
You may be wondering why sleep plays such an important role in weight loss. Here are the main reasons…
- Insufficient sleep can increase your appetite. This is because of the impact it has on the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin (1).
- Sufficient sleep helps you make better food choices and resist tempting, unhealthy, high sugar/fat foods (2). This leads to you consuming less calories during the day.
- Proper sleep makes you more active. Lack of sleep can cause you to feel fatigued during the day. This can decrease your motivation and make it less likely for your to exercise.
- Poor sleep may lower your resting metabolism. This means you burn less calories in rest.
How to lose weight while you sleep
Here are some ways to increase the quality of your sleep and boost your fat loss, not only while you’re sleeping but also during the rest of the day…
Drink a protein shake before bed
Study shows that consuming milk protein or whey protein at night, 30 minutes before you go to bed, has a positive influence on your resting metabolic rate and exercise performance the next morning.
A protein shake before bed may also aid in muscle repair and result in you burning more calories while you sleep.
However, you do have to consider the extra calories provided by the protein shake itself. If you’re planning on adding a protein shake before bed, make sure you reduce your calorie intake by an equal amount during one of your other meals, preferably dinner.
Set a fixed bed time
Research has proved that getting the sufficient sleep is essential to your health. However, if you’re like most people, your busy schedule, late night movies and a host of other factors may be standing in the way of you getting sound sleep.
Humans are creatures of habit. If you find yourself consistently getting distracted by things at night, causing you to get less sleep than you should… it’s time to change the habit.
Set a fixed bedtime that ensures you get about seven to eight hours every night (at least during week days). A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who are well-rested burn 20% more calories after eating than those who don’t get sufficient sleep.
Study indicates that alcohol can have a detrimental effect on the quality of your sleep an may even lead to insomnia (3).
Consuming alcohol close to bedtime will cause your body to metabolize that alcohol during your sleep. This will prevent you from achieving REM sleep. This is the state of sleep when your body burns the most calories. So, don’t consume any alcohol within three hours before you go to bed.
Don’t exercise before bedtime
Exercise is good for you. Not just for weight loss but for your overall health. It should definitely be ann important part of your healthy lifestyle.
However, there’s a time and a place for everything. As it turns out, before bedtime is not the best time for exercise.
Exercise gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing and actually wakes your body up. This will make it difficult for you to get to sleep. The best time for exercise is early in the morning. It will kick-start your metabolism and help keep you energized throughout the day.
Of course, working out in the afternoon is great as well. However, if you want to prevent finding yourself staring at the ceiling, unable to get to sleep at night, don’t do any high intensity workouts for about 4 hours before bed time.
Turn down the thermostat
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation indicates that you may be able to increase your nightly calorie burn by sleeping in a cold(er) room.
Turning down the thermostat and sleeping in a colder room may help recruit brown fat (brown adipose tissue) deposits as well as increasing “non-shivering thermogenesis”. In other words, you burn more calories at night when you’re cold. It also causes you to create good brown fat instead of unhealthy white fat.
Turn of screens/monitors
Yes, this includes tablets and smartphones. A study conducted at Manchester University indicates that the type of short-wavelength light emitted by electronic device screens interrupts melatonin production. This in turn can cause a disruption of your metabolism and glucose levels.
Exposure to light from self-luminous electronic devices at night has also been linked to increased risk for diseases. Which brings us to the next point…
Sleep in darkness
Research has found that just sleeping under a bright light can drive up insulin resistance (a risk factor for diabetes). Also, you produce more melatonin (the hormone that causes you to feel sleepy) in a very dark room.
So, try to eliminate all sources of artificial lighting in your bedroom when you go to sleep. If there are streetlight outside your window you may want to consider getting some blackout curtains. You can also cover light sources you can’t remove, such as an alarm clock, to prevent them from hindering you from getting to sleep.
Sleep plays a major role in your overal health. It should also be one of your focus points when it comes to weight loss, along with diet and exercise. Not only can you aid your body in losing more weight while you sleep. Sufficient, healthy sleep also boosts your fat loss, health and energy levels during waking hours.