While You Sleep

Lose Weight While You Sleep

Weight loss doesn’t just happen at the gym or in the kitchen; you can improve your weight loss results in the bedroom, too.

And although a healthy sex life is a great way to improve body image and burn calories, we don’t mean getting hot under the covers with your partner!

We’re talking about how getting enough shut-eye can help you sleep your way to better weight loss results. In fact, sleep is so important to weight loss that a recent study revealed that sleeping less than 7 hours a night can slow down weight loss by as much as 55 percent!

How Does Sleep Help Weight Loss?

Sleep, or a lack of it, affects your health, body functions, and your ability to lose weight in many ways:

• Sleep Helps You To Make Healthy Choices

Firstly, not sleeping enough dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe – the area of decision-making and impulse control – so being tired makes it difficult to resist temptation and make healthy choices.

To add to this problem, when you’re overtired, your brain’s reward centers are activated, making it crave unhealthy foods for easy sources of fat, sugar, and salt.

All in all, a sleep-deprived brain appears to crave junk food while also lacking the impulse control to say no.

• Sleep Balances Hunger Hormones

Not only does a lack of sleep mess with your brain’s ability to make decisions, it also causes an imbalance in hormones which send signals relating to hunger and satiety to the brain.

Without enough sleep, the body begins to make more of the hormone ghrelin, which tells your brain when it’s time to eat, and at the same time, your body produces less leptin, the hormone that tells your brain when you’re full, meaning that your already struggling brain has, even more, to deal with.

• Sleep Boosts Metabolism And Fat Burn

A lack of sleep also plays havoc with the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol signals your body to conserve energy to fuel your extra waking hours, causing your body to break down lean muscle (the type of tissue that helps burn calories more efficiently).

This slows down your metabolism and makes you more likely to hang onto fat—particularly belly fat.

A study from the University of Chicago found that dieters getting 8 hours of sleep per night lost 50% more fat and 50% less muscle mass than dieters sleeping for around 5 hours a night. Losing muscle makes it harder to keep weight off in the long term, leading to weight fluctuations and yo-yo dieting.

Another study found that normal sleepers’ resting energy expenditure—the amount of calories burned when not moving—was five percent higher than that of their tired counterparts. They also burned 20% more calories after a meal than sleep-deprived people.

So, not getting enough sleep slows down your metabolism and contributes to an increase in body fat. This means that despite your hard work with diet and exercise, a lack of sleep counteracts these efforts and may stall your weight loss or even result in weight gain.

• Sleep Helps You Avoid Late-Night Snacking

It may seem obvious, but if you’re awake for longer, you also have the extra time to eat more food, as well as the inability to resist temptation and misplaced hunger cues.

What’s more, due to your tired brain’s cravings for easy calories, more of these late-night calories came from high-fat foods rather than the healthy foods consumed during the daytime.

Sleep More And Lose Weight

These seven tips will help you sleep more and lose weight while you’re off in dreamland:

1. Eat Sleep-Boosting Foods

Tryptophan, an amino acid found in meats like chicken and turkey, has demonstrated powerful sleep-inducing effects.

A recent study among insomniacs found that just 1/4 gram—about what you’ll find in a skinless chicken drumstick or three ounces of lean turkey meat—was enough to significantly increase hours of deep sleep.

2. Exercise

As well as helping you to tone up and burn fat, exercise aids sleep by helping to regulate circadian rhythms and balance out hormones which help you sleep.

3. Switch Off Technology

You should also try to disconnect as much as possible in the hours before bedtime with reduced use of smartphones, computers, and televisions, and try reading or taking a hot bath instead.

Studies show that people who are more likely to take devices into the bedroom have more disrupted sleep patterns and are more likely to be overweight.

4. Get Your Vitamins

You may not have heard of 5-HTP, but it’s present in all of our bodies and is crucial to helping regulate sleep, appetite, and mood. 5-HTP is a serotonin precursor, which means that the body uses it to make serotonin, the hormone that lifts mood and signals when we’re full.

5. Turn Out The Light

Exposure to light at night doesn’t just interrupt your chances of a great night’s sleep, it may also result in weight gain according to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Study subjects who slept in the darkest rooms were 21 percent less likely to be obese than those sleeping in the lightest rooms.

6. Sleep-inducing scents

Lavender is famed for its sleep-inducing properties. Its scent tends to improve overall sleep quality for a variety of ages and genders. However, the smell is typically most effective on women, younger people, and those with mild insomnia.

If you’re not a fan of lavender, chamomile, vanilla, and jasmine have all been found to have calming effects that promote rest and relaxation.

If you don’t want to run the risk of falling asleep with a burning candle, you can spray your bed linen with your favorite sleepy scent, drift off into a sweetly scented sleep with a few drops of essential oil on a handkerchief underneath your pillow, or use some scented oil as a hand moisturizer before bed.

7. Get The Right Temperature

In the colder months we tend to feel cold going to bed, which can make it difficult to get to sleep, and then in the early hours of the morning, feeling cold can cause us to wake up earlier than desired.

If you suffer from cold feet, make it easier to get to sleep by wearing easily removed layers and socks. However, leave off the heating, as sleeping in a cooler room helps to burn through belly fat, as one study found.

Despite experts agreeing that getting enough sleep is as important to health, well-being, and weight loss as diet and exercise, nearly two-thirds of Americans don’t get enough sleep during a typical week.

As we’ve seen above, a lack of sleep can be detrimental to losing weight, so it’s important to include between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.

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