- 5 Ways To Burn Fat While You Sleep
- 1. Add strength training to daily exercise
- 2. Do bodyweight exercises
- Irregular sleep times linked to higher health risks, study finds
- 3. Forward fold for 5 minutes
- 4. Sleep cooler
- 5. Don’t Drink Before Bed
- 6. Eat a small dinner
- 7. Eat all day long
- 8. Banish electronics from the bedroom
- 9. Sleep darker
- 5 Ways You Can Literally Lose Weight In Your Sleep
- Every Night You Lose More Than A Pound While You’re Asleep (For The Oddest Reason)
- Fit protein in before bed
- Sleep in complete darkness
- Your body burns calories while you sleep — here’s how to burn the most
- Is It Possible to Lose Weight While You Sleep?
- Why do I lose weight while I sleep?
5 Ways To Burn Fat While You Sleep
Wouldn’t it be great if you could lose weight while catching a bit of shuteye? Good news – you can! Here are five handy ways you can burn fat while you’re asleep.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could lose weight while catching a bit of shuteye? Good news – you can! Here are five handy ways you can burn fat while you’re asleep.
Drink a casein shake
Whilst proteins such as whey are perfect for a post workout boost, their rapid-absorbing nature means they’re not as effective before you hit the hay. Instead, choose casein protein if you want to boost your overnight fat burning. Casein is a gradually digested protein that can take your body around six to eight hours to break down. This means your metabolism will be kept active throughout the night, and you’ll wake up feeling energetic instead of starving.
Casein’s fat burning credentials were confirmed in a Dutch study, which discovered a boost in overnight metabolic rate following consumption of the protein. Similarly, researchers at Maastricht University found that casein enhances overnight protein synthesis, which helps to repair and strengthen muscles. When you consider that every extra pound of muscle burns 30-35 calories every day, this is an added bonus of this super-protein that should not be ignored.
That’s right; one of the most effective ways to shift those pounds while you sleep is to quite simply get more of it. With our hectic schedules nowadays sleep is often neglected, but if you want to lose weight that needs to change. Don’t believe us? A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that overweight people on average got 16 minutes less sleep per day than their regular-weight counterparts. It doesn’t sound like very long, but over time that difference builds up.
So why does sleep help keep you slim? It’s all to do with the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin helps to regulate your energy levels and keep your appetite low, while ghrelin stimulates hunger and often initiates the need to eat. The results of a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that participants who got more sleep had reduced ghrelin and increased leptin levels, which helped to control their appetites throughout the day.
Eat cottage cheese before bed
Eating food before bed is often seen as taboo when it comes to dieting, but this is actually dependant on what kind of food you choose. Avoiding food completely before sleeping can actually have the opposite effect, as people who wake up feeling hungry are far more likely to binge on food at breakfast. A small snack of cottage cheese before bed is a great choice as it is rich in – yep, you guessed it – casein protein.
As an added bonus cottage cheese contains the amino acid tryptophan. A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that tryptophan improves quality of sleep, and reduces the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. This means cottage cheese will keep hunger at bay throughout the night, and ensure you sleep for a decent amount of time. What’s not to like?
Whilst sleep alone is great for encourage weight loss, there are some exercises you can do before bed that will help the process along. One of the best approaches is some pre-slumber resistance training. Burning fat is all about boosting your metabolism, and resistance training is great for this. In fact, according to a journal published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition, subjects who performed resistance exercises enjoyed a higher resting metabolic rate for an average of 16 hours following their workout.
This resistance training session doesn’t need to be excessive. A simple weight lifting routine will suffice, even if it doesn’t push you to the limit and leave you breathless. It’s well worth following this up with a casein shake; as mentioned earlier this will ensure consistent muscle recovery throughout the night while you sleep.
Eat small meals throughout the day
‘Eat little and often’, is a favourite tip of trainers and dieticians the world over, and you’ll be glad to hear this is a great way of boosting your nocturnal weight loss. Eating small meals frequently throughout the day serves to keep your metabolism ticking over, and will ensure your body continues burning fat throughout the night. Of course, these meals need to be healthy and nutritious for this technique to work!
As well as boosting your metabolism while you’re asleep, this frequent eating method will ensure your appetite is kept in check, which should reduce any cravings you have when you wake up in the morning.
While the idea might sound really far-fetched, it’s actually a growing area of research that is showing how it’s possible to lose weight during sleep.
Modern life is really interrupting the natural circadian rhythms the human body usually follows, according to research from The National Sleep Foundation. In fact, this disruption may be encouraging the body to hold onto fat when it really should not.
There are ways to help counter these effects, though! Here are some tips:
1. Add strength training to daily exercise
Cardio is great, and there are lots of good reasons it should be a part of an overall fitness plan. But strength training should be, too, especially for anyone who wants to take advantage of nocturnal weight loss.
This is because strength training continues to burn calories after the session is over. This means that a stop off at the gym after work, or even a simple at-home strength workout can keep the body in calorie burning mode all night long, even after bedtime.
2. Do bodyweight exercises
Don’t have access to a gym or dumbbells? Anyone can use their own body weight to get in strength training.
Do 10 squats before bed, followed by a holding plank for 30 seconds. Or try walking around the house one lunge at a time and then doing modified push-ups on the knees for 5 minutes before hitting the hay.
June 6, 201902:31 Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.
3. Forward fold for 5 minutes
Certain yoga poses help to calm and ease the mind of anxiety and tension. Try sitting upright in bed with the legs stretched out in front, then hinging forward at the hips. Feel a stretch in the backs of the legs (the hamstrings), and breathe in for five slow deep breaths and out for five. Feel a melting towards towards the legs and flex the feet. Perform this before bed to help calm down the nervous system and promote better quality sleep.
4. Sleep cooler
According to a research study published in Diabetes magazine people who keep their bedrooms at a steady temperature of 66 degrees for one month increased the amount of calorie burning brown fat in their bodies by up to 42% and boosted their metabolism by 10%.
5. Don’t Drink Before Bed
An evening cocktail may sound like it would be super relaxing, but even one alcoholic drink too close to bedtime can impede the body’s ability to burn calories the way it should.
This is because instead of focusing on burning fat as it should, the body is busy trying to metabolize the alcohol instead. So while a glass of wine with dinner is OK, leave it at that.
6. Eat a small dinner
There’s an old saying that says eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a lord and dinner like pauper. There really is some truth in it. Eating a big dinner too close to bedtime, just as is the case with alcohol, will take up your body’s energy trying to digest instead of detoxing and recharging. So, keep dinner light and small — but don’t go to bed starving either.
7. Eat all day long
Feeding the body protein every few hours helps stabilize blood sugar levels. And, this speeds up the metabolism all day (and night!) long.
8. Banish electronics from the bedroom
To lose weight overnight, all blue light devices — laptop, tablet and/or smartphone — need to go. Studies have shown that nighttime exposure to the blue light they all emit disrupts the production of the melatonin the body needs to promote sleep.
In addition, a study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University reported that blue light exposure at night increases hunger and insulin resistance, which can, of course, lead to weight gain and not just the disruption of the body’s fat-burning power.
9. Sleep darker
To lose weight during sleep, try getting rid of that nightlight, too.
Research has found that even dim light — including light from the street outside — delays melatonin production and impedes the production of brown fat. So, in addition to turning off phones and any bedside lights, consider investing in blackout curtains to block light from outside.
Stephanie Mansour is a health & fitness expert and weight-loss coach for women. Join her complimentary health and weight-loss challenge here!
5 Ways You Can Literally Lose Weight In Your Sleep
In our zeal to lose weight, we often change our lives to resemble a regimented schedule of exercise, pre-planned meals, and mental pep-talks. We check our Fitbits regularly, try yoga on YouTube, and buy fancy running shoes.
It’s a lot of work to lose weight, but is all that work really necessary? Could a good night’s rest be the key to losing weight? Incredibly, research suggests certain habits and a good night’s sleep could make it easier to lose weight.
1. Before You Climb Into Bed
You might already know the vital importance of eating protein to lose weight, and ending your day with protein is an excellent way to increase muscle mass, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition. Increasing your muscle mass is the most effective way to burn more calories each day whether you’re exercising, sitting on the couch, or even sleeping.
2. Sleep in a Dark Room
A study published in the Journal of Pineal Research revealed that melatonin (the hormone that makes you feel sleepy) is also responsible for increasing brown fat production. Brown fat burns more calories than white fat. Your body produces more melatonin when you sleep in a very dark room so that you can create the “right” type of fat for optimal fat burning and weight loss.
3. Use Your Air Conditioner
You may be able to increase your nightly calorie burn by sleeping in a cold room, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Just like a dark room may increase brown fat deposits, a cold room could also have the same effect. Known as “nonshivering thermogenesis,” the basic idea is that you burn more calories at night when you’re cold, and you also create good brown fat instead of unhealthy white fat.
4. Don’t Sleep With Your Phone or Television
We’re connected all the time to our electronic social lives, and many people sit in bed with a smartphone screen right in front of their eyes before falling asleep. According to researchers at Manchester University, the type of short-wavelength light emitted by electronic device screens interrupts melatonin production, which can mean a disruption of your metabolism and glucose levels.
5. A Good Night’s Sleep Means Burning More Calories
Sleep restores health and helps us maintain active lifestyles, and ample sleep may also help fight obesity, according to a study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Scientists found their subjects expended more calories during the day when they were well-rested, even if those subjects weren’t particularly active while awake.
Make sleep work for you and help you lose weight by adopting these simple habits. You won’t lose weight immediately, but you may lose weight overnight!
Getting a poor night’s sleep doesn’t just make you cranky—it can also make you fat. Research shows logging less than 8 hours a night increases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which negatively affects the microbes in your gut, slowing your metabolism.
Fortunately, you can reverse course and keep your metabolism cranking overnight with these simple steps.
1. Lift weights at night.
After work, head straight from your desk to the dumbbell rack and you can boost your metabolic rate for 16 hours, according to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition.
Related: THE 21-DAY METASHRED—an At-Home Body-Shredding Program From Men’s Health That Strips Away Fat and Reveals Hard Muscle
2. Upgrade your protein shake.
Feed your hungry muscles by trading whey for casein in your post-workout shake. This slow-release protein is gradually digested over 8 hours and keeps your metabolic fires burning through the night.
Dutch researchers also say that casein enhances protein synthesis, which helps you cut an extra 35 calories a day for every pound of new muscle gained.
3. Freeze your butt (and gut) off.
An icy shower does more than flush out lactic acid after the gym. Research in PLoS ONE finds that a 30-second freeze is all it takes to activate your body’s brown fat—which, when fired up, melts as much as an extra 400 calories in bed.
Make sure you stick your head under the faucet: More brown fat is stored in the back of your neck and shoulders.
Related: The Men’s Health Better Man Project—2,000+ Quick Tricks For Living Your Healthiest Life
4. Drink a different kind of brew.
The flavonoids found in green tea boost your metabolism—and if it’s your third cup of the day, you’ll burn 3.5 percent more calories overnight, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Don’t worry about caffeine content. Green tea will help keep you up for the news at 10, but not all night.
5. Sleep in a cool room.
Cranking the radiator at night burns through little more than your gas bill.
Research from the National Institutes of Health says that turning down your thermostat to a cool 66 degrees Fahrenheit cuts 7 percent more calories, as your body burns fat to maintain its core temperature.
(Photo by Getty Images)
What’s the best place in the world to lose weight?
The gym! say the muscle-bound personal trainers, raising their hands (but not really getting that far because their deltoids get in the way).
The (huff!) track (puff!) say the distance runners, bicyclists, triathletes, and other types trucking along with sweat in their eyes and numbers stuck on their chests.
The kitchen! say the nutritionists, dieticians, organic produce purveyors, and washed-up chefs slinging faux diet plans to the masses.
But they’re all wrong.
Because real, successful, sustainable weight loss comes from achieving excellence in a completely unexpected realm: the bedroom.
No, you can’t lovemake your way to lean. (Although if you want to try, check out our steamy story on 8 Libido-Boosting Superfoods.) But you can absolutely sleep your way to slender. In fact, no matter how many pounds you press, how many miles you log, how much kohlrabi you crunch, it won’t get you anywhere near your weight-loss goals unless you’re also getting enough quality sleep. A recent study found sub-par sleep could undermine weight loss by as much as 55 percent! The good news is just a few simple tweaks to your p.m. routine can mean serious weight loss success. So open your eyes: Here are eight science-backed suggestions to lose while you snooze.
Try your sleep switch.
Don’t count sheep, eat lamb! (Or better yet, a bit of turkey.) Tryptophan, an amino acid found in most meats, 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. And that can can translate into easy weight loss. Researchers from the University of Colorado found that dieters consumed 6 percent fewer calories when they got enough sleep. For someone on a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s 120 calories per day, which could amount to nearly a one-pound weight loss in a month! The National Sleep Foundation suggests seven to eight hours of sleep for most adults. (Bonus: Keep insomnia at bay with the 7 Ways to Eat Your Way to Better Sleep.)
1. Set strict kitchen hours
Nighttime fasting—aka closing the kitchen early—may help you lose more weight, even if you eat more food throughout the day, according to a study in the journal Cell Metabolism. Researchers put groups of mice on a high-fat, high-calorie diet for 100 days. Half of them were allowed to nibble throughout the night and day on a healthy, controlled diet, while the others only had access to food for eight hours, but could eat whatever they wanted. The result of the 16-hour food ban? The fasting mice stayed lean, while the mice who noshed ‘round the clock became obese—even though both groups consumed the same amount of calories!
2. Shake things up
Having a protein shake before hitting the sack may boost your metabolism, according to one Florida State University study. Researchers found that men who consumed an evening snack that included 30 g of either whey or casein protein had a higher resting metabolic rate the next morning than when eating nothing. Protein is more thermogenic than carbs or fat, meaning your body burns more calories digesting it. (Secret nutrition tip: Add flax seeds and coconut oil to your smoothie—they’re just two of the 8 New Superfoods You Should Eat Every Day!)
3. Make a mint
Certain scents can make your mouth water, and others can actually suppress your appetite. One study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint every two hours lost an average of 5 pounds a month! Banana, green apple, and vanilla had similar effects. Consider burning a minty candle until you head to bed to fill the room with slimming smells. If you don’t want to bother with blowing out candles before you turn down the covers, try adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your pillow.
4. Let in the cold
A striking new study published in the journal Diabetes suggests that simply blasting the air conditioner or turning down the heat in winter may help us attack belly fat while we sleep. Colder temperatures subtly enhance the effectiveness of our stores of brown fat—fat keeps you warm by helping you burn through the fat stored in your belly. Participants spent a few weeks sleeping in bedrooms with varying temperatures: a neutral 75 degrees, a cool 66 degrees, and a balmy 81 degrees. After four weeks of sleeping at 66 degrees, the subjects had almost doubled their volumes of brown fat. (And yes, that means they lost belly fat.)
Learn how you can make your fat help you lose fat with our new Eat This, Not That! science-backed special report: “Fifty Shades of Fat.”)
5. Throw out the night 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. Get the night-time blues
There’s a reason why McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s all have the same red-and-yellow theme colors. Those tones supposedly send us subliminal messages that help make us hungry. Does the same trick work at home? An experiment published in the interior design magazine Contract presented partygoers with three identical venues painted different colors: red, yellow and blue. Participants reported the red and yellow rooms to be equally appetizing (and ate the most in the yellow room), but found the food in the blue room only half as appealing. (Discover how colors aid weight loss with the Best Fruits For Fat Loss.)
7. Hide the iPad
Research suggests that the more electronics we bring into the bedroom, the fatter we get — especially among children. A study in the Pediatric Obesity journal found that kids who bask in the nighttime glow of a TV or computer don’t get enough rest and suffer from poor lifestyle habits. Researchers found that students with access to one electronic device were 1.47 times as likely to be overweight as kids with no devices in the bedroom. That increased to 2.57 times for kids with three devices. Leave your iPad in the living room.
8. And switch off the tube, too
Did you know lean people watch less TV? It’s one of our clinically proven 7 Laws of Leanness to help you look, feel and live better than ever!
SAVE $$$ AND CALORIES NOW! For the latest food swaps and weight-loss tips, visit the all-new Eat This, Not That! and sign up for our free newsletter full of diet tricks, menu hacks, and easy ways to a healthier, happier you.
More from Eat This, Not That
7 Foods That Ward Off Winter Illness
8 Food Rules to Break Today
The 10 Best Nutrition Tips Ever
7 Healthy Drinks for Instant Energy
Join our Eat This, Not That! community here on Facebook and Twitter now!
Every Night You Lose More Than A Pound While You’re Asleep (For The Oddest Reason)
Editor’s Note: Robert has added an update to this post. Scroll down to read it.
Here’s a simple question: Why do you weigh more when you go to sleep than when you wake up? Because you do. In the video below, you’ll see the evidence. You can check this yourself. Somehow, while doing absolutely nothing all night but sleep, you will wake up lighter.
This is not about bathroom stuff. If you awaken and weigh yourself even before going to the toilet, you will still be lighter than when you went to bed. Why?
Where Does The Weight Go?
My first thought was “sweat.” Maybe you sweat when you sleep, so some of your water weight disappears as water vapor. Turns out, that’s true. That’s part of the explanation — but not the fascinating part.
Derek Muller, a physics teacher in Perth, Australia, and host of one of my favorite science blogs, Veritasium, came up with the full answer, and it’s so surprising, so simple, it feels like one of those No Fuss, No Muss, Miracle Cures they talk about on late night television.
This is like the Sting song, “Every breath you take … ” All night long, every time you breathe out, a bunch of carbon atoms, formerly inside your body, leave your insides and take off into the night air. You breathe in oxygen, O2. You breathe out carbon dioxide, (two oxygen atoms with a carbon atom attached), so there’s an extra carbon atom leaving in every round trip.
Each of those carbon atoms weighs almost nothing, a fraction of a fraction of a gram. But every breath expels roughly 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or ten billion trillion atoms, so add up all the atoms coming from all the breaths you take all night long … and — could it be this simple? — you wake up carbon-depleted, more than a pound lighter.
Yes, We Lose Carbon At Night, Says This Reader. But Water Too! Remember The H2O!
By Robert Krulwich
Several of our readers have written in to say Derek’s explanation for overnight weight loss needs one important amendment. They say Derek’s right that we lose carbon atoms when we sleep. Nobody argues with that. “Yes, you are technically losing carbons,” writes “Bologna Vest,” “but that’s not all you’re losing. That’s not even MOST of what you’re losing.”
Here’s “Bologna’s” version: When we sleep we also exhale water vapor. On most nights, the room we’re in is cooler than we are. Our throat, our lungs, the inside of us, is roughly 98 degrees. The bedroom might be 75 degrees. When you breathe in, cool air enters your body. Then, when it’s time to exhale, says Bologna Vest, “our body moistens the surfaces of our lungs and the air we exhale, now warmed to approximately 90F has a relative humidity of almost 100%” — which means, I think, that when you breathe out, your breath pulls water from inside you and “whoosh!” — once it goes, you lose a little bit of water-weight. Anyone who’s had to lug a pail of water knows that H2O has mass. Now, multiply by a night of breaths and gazillions of atoms, and there’s a second explanation for weight loss: disappearing water vapor.
“Bologna” says, (and I can’t verify his/her figures; I don’t know him/her) while we do lose weight from carbon depletion all night, we lose MORE weight from water depletion.
Here’s what “Bologna” says. If anybody thinks he/she’s wrong, let us know.
Yes, you are technically losing carbons, but that’s not all you’re losing. That’s not even MOST of what you’re losing.
Assume you live in an air conditioned house. Assume that you keep the AC set at 70F. Because of the AC, the relative humidity inside your house is approximately 50% (in addition to cooling, AC adjusts humidity to between 40 and 60%). So what you breath in is approximately 70F at 50% humidity. At that temperature there are 0.0079 grams of water vapor in each gram of dry air. Meanwhile, the dry air in our atmosphere contains 0.00046g of Carbon Dioxide in each gram of dry air. But don’t forget that CO2 is not all carbon, so there’s only about 0.00013 g of Carbon in each gram of dry air.
As we exhale, our body moistens the surfaces of our lungs and the air we exhale, now warmed to approximately 90F has a relative humidity of almost 100%. At 90F and 90%, each gram of dry air we exhale (that is, the air we exhale minus the weight of the water vapor in it) also carries with it 0.0272 grams of water vapor. We also exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. The dry air we exhale contains approximately 0.046 g of Carbon Dioxide in each gram of dry air exhaled. Again, though, CO2 is not all carbon. There’s only about 0.013 g of C in each gram of dry air exhaled.
So for every gram of air we breathe, we lose less than 0.013 g of carbon and more than 0.019 g of water vapor.
1 / 5 Photo:
Fit protein in before bed
Prone to snacking before you snooze? Stock your fridge with protein shakes. Florida State University researchers found that men who had a shake with 30 grams of protein before bed experienced a higher resting energy expenditure (how much energy, or calories, the body burns at rest) the next morning compared to those who ate nothing before bed. An added bonus: Protein may also aid muscle repair overnight. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
Discover more lean protein options here! 2 / 5
Sleep in complete darkness
If you live in an area that gets exposed to outdoor lights, consider blackout curtains or shades for your bedroom. Turn around any glowing clocks and keep the TV off. When you’re in complete darkness, your body produces the hormone melatonin, which not only makes you feel sleepy, but can aid in the production of calorie-burning brown fat, according to a study published in the Journal of Pineal Research.
Read more about the Hidden Health Risks of Nighttime Lights.
Your body burns calories while you sleep — here’s how to burn the most
Our bodies burn the most calories during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, he said. “We burn the most calories in because that’s when we burn the most glucose” and “when our brains are the most active.”
How does it work?
The doctor breaks down this process in his book, “The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep.”
“Glucose metabolism starts to increase in the second half of the night when you enter REM sleep,” he writes. “Amazingly, the better you sleep, the more calories you burn.”
The amount of sleep you’re getting has an impact, too. “The longer you sleep, the more REM sleep you get, so you will burn more calories if you sleep longer,” he writes.
Not getting enough sleep can even affect your calorie intake the next day. Sleep deprivation makes people hungrier, especially for foods that are high in fat, plus sleeping less leaves more time to eat.
That said, you won’t burn a ton of calories by sleeping all day, as over-sleeping has the reverse effect. Breus explains that “those who sleep too long have slower metabolisms because they stay in bed instead of expending energy.”
How many calories do you burn in your sleep?
Given that people weigh different amounts and need different amounts of sleep, it’s hard to give a concrete number of calories the average person burns in their sleep.
This Fit Day article provides a formula to help you estimate roughly how many calories you burn while you’re asleep. According to the article, you can work out your calorie expenditure by multiplying 0.42 calories — the average amount of calories a person burns for every pound they weigh in one hour of sleep — by your weight in pounds and the hours that you sleep.
As an example, the article calculates that someone weighing 150 pounds who sleeps for eight hours would burn approximately 63 calories an hour, totaling 504 calories during their sleep.
It’s worth noting, though, that this calculation doesn’t take into account that the most calorie-burning happens in the REM stage of sleep, nor any habits that can impact your sleep, like eating late at night.
How to burn more calories while you sleep
Eat smaller meals for dinner — and don’t eat late at night.
“When you eat large meals close to bed, your body doesn’t have an opportunity to metabolize through it,” Breus said. He explained that the brain emits a growth hormone during stages of deep sleep; when we eat late at night, that growth hormone prompts the body to store food as fat instead of fuel. That’s why it’s worth cutting down on portion sizes at dinner time.
“In America we have a tendency to have our largest meal at night and our smallest meal in the morning,” he said. “The exact opposite is what we should be doing.”
Stop drinking alcohol three hours before bed.
While a couple of glasses of wine with dinner is fine, Breus recommends curbing alcohol intake at least three hours before going to bed.
“You need to stop and give yourself a little time so that your body can metabolize through that alcohol, otherwise it keeps you out of those deeper stages of sleep and that can be a problem,” he said.
As he explained, it’s during REM sleep — a deep stage of sleep — that our bodies can burn the most calories.
Exercise every day — but not before bed.
Frequent exercise is a good idea for anyone looking to burn calories during the day or night.
However, Breus warns that it’s best to stop working out about four hours before bedtime. “Some people tend to get kind of revved up from exercise and we want to make sure they’re not too revved up to sleep,” he said.
With exercise, “you increase your core body temperature and so it’s hard to fall asleep when your body’s hot.”
Sleep in the nude.
Yes, you read that right.
In a Psychology Today article on the benefits of sleeping naked, Breus points to research that suggests that sleeping naked keeps the body cool, which can increase the body’s reserves of brown fat — a good kind of fat that burns energy in calories.
If you’d rather keep your pajamas on, keeping your bedroom cool can have the same impact. Some studies have shown that sleeping in a colder temperature increases the number of calories burned.
Is It Possible to Lose Weight While You Sleep?
Source: Deposit Photos
Contrary to what many people think, sleep is not an inactive state. During sleep our bodies are doing lots of important work—repairing cells and tissues, restoring full, healthy function to our immune system, consolidating memories and rebooting the neural cells and networks of the brain. We’re burning calories the whole time. For a 150-pound person, the estimated calorie burn over a 7-hour night of rest is just over 440 calories. That’s a 40-minute jog on a treadmill!
Getting plenty of high-quality rest is an important—and still overlooked– factor in weight control. Here are some of the ways you can harness your sleep routine and your overnight rest to help your body burn more calories and stay metabolically healthier.
Activate your body’s ‘thinning’ fats
It might surprise you to learn there isn’t just one type of fat—and certain kinds of fat actually work to burn energy, rather than storing it. Brown fat and beige fat both appear to have significant metabolic benefits. In contrast to white fat, these so-called “thinning fats” burn calories, help keep insulin working properly, help regulate blood sugar, and guard against obesity. Studies in mice show that animals with higher amounts of brown fat are leaner, and have better metabolic health. Research involving humans has shown brown fat is linked to lower body mass. On the other hand, a lack of brown fat in mice is associated with higher insulin resistance, higher blood sugar, and diabetes. Scientists recently discovered beige fat activates a protein that works to burn calories and generate heat in the body, and may have significant benefits in combating obesity and metabolic disorders.
What do these metabolically beneficial fats have to do with sleep? Sleep can contribute to the increase of these “good” fats in at least a couple of ways. Research has shown that the sleep hormone melatonin contributes to the increase of both brown fat and beige fat. Regularly getting enough high-quality sleep, sticking to a consistent sleep-wake cycle, and protecting daily circadian biorhythms from disruption are all ways to encourage your body’s natural melatonin production, which may help your body make more of these weight-loss promoting fats.
Both brown and beige fat are sensitive to temperature and can be stimulated by exposure to cool nighttime temperatures. Research shows sleeping overnight in cool environments increases brown and beige fat, by triggering the body to convert white fat to these energy-burning fats. (More on the importance of a cool bedroom for weight loss in a minute.)
Limit blue light exposure
Blue light aggressively suppresses melatonin, throws daily biorhythms out of sync, and inhibits sleep. Research shows this blue light delays melatonin production for more than twice as long as other light wavelengths, and alters circadian rhythms by twice the degree.
Where do we get exposure to blue light? Pretty much everywhere, these days. Sunlight contains blue light. But this short wavelength light is found in especially high concentrations in digital screens and energy efficient lighting, including LED and fluorescent lights. In today’s world, we’re exposed to more blue light than ever before, including at the worst times for sleep and melatonin production—during the evening hours before bed. A 2017 study found blue light exposure between the hours of 9-11 p.m.—prime time for Netflix, and that evening scroll through social media on your phone or computer—significantly reduced melatonin production, shortened sleep time, and led to more restless sleep.
Too much bright light exposure, particularly in the evenings, compromises our sleep and health—including greater potential for weight gain. Blue light’s suppression of melatonin may inhibit the weight-regulating benefits of this hormone and of sleep itself.
Set an earlier bedtime
Later bedtimes have been linked to several factors that promote weight gain, including more late-night snacking and a stronger preference for high-calorie foods. Research has demonstrated a relationship between going to bed later and gaining weight. What’s behind this connection? There are likely to be several factors at play. Among them, staying up later simply leaves us with more waking time to eat, and to be tempted by the most calorie-dense foods (think sugary sweets and salty fried snacks). Self-control—what we often think of as “willpower”—is a deeply complicated cognitive process, one that scientists are still working to understand.
Are we less able to resist ice cream and cookies and potato chips at night, after a long day of decision-making, discipline, and focus? Probably so—and studies show that for people who are sleep deprived, cravings for junk food become even harder to resist. But there’s little question that removing the temptation is easier than resisting it—and that’s what an earlier bedtime can do. More time in the evenings sleeping means less time available for snacking, at the time when many of us are most tempted.
With so many of us chronically sleep deprived, an earlier bedtime also helps ensure that we get enough sleep on a nightly basis. A single night of insufficient sleep can send hunger hormones from spiking, sending our appetites on the rise. Being short on sleep also makes us more prone to stress and for many of us, to emotional eating.
Going to bed earlier isn’t easy for everyone. In addition to busy schedules and lots of responsibilities that get pushed to the nighttime hours, some chronotypes are more driven to stay up late than others. Early-rising Lions and sleep-craving Bears are more likely to welcome an earlier bedtime than restless Dolphins and late-to-bed, late-to-rise Wolves. If you’re one of these evening types, don’t give up: even a small, gradual shift to an earlier bedtime can bring you more sleep, and help keep your waistline in check.
Don’t know your chronotype? Take my bio time quiz at www.thepowerofwhenquiz.com.
Get light exposure early in the day
Evening light exposure interferes with melatonin production—and that can make it easier for our bodies put on weight. But light exposure isn’t all bad for sleep and weight. Far from it. Early in the day exposure to light helps to strengthen our daily, 24-hour circadian rhythms, in part by reinforcing the natural decline of melatonin that happens to us every morning. When melatonin levels drop, you become more alert and ready to be active. That sends you into your day more energized—and apt to burn more calories throughout the day.
Morning light also sends powerful cues to your brain that help keep your daily biorhythms in sync. These circadian biorhythms exert a great deal of control over sleep-wake patterns. Your next night’s sleep may be the last thing on your mind when you’re just getting your day underway. But by shoring up circadian rhythms, this early-day light exposure can have a direct effect on how well you sleep at night—and sleeping well makes it easier to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. What’s more, our biorhythms do a lot more than control our sleep—they influence nearly every part of our daily physiology, from metabolism and digestion to hormone production—including hormones that regulate hunger and fullness.
Sleep in a cool bedroom
Keeping your bedroom cool is one of the most comfortable, relaxing, sleep-promoting choices you can make for your nightly sleep environment. A cool bedroom can help you sleep better, able to fall asleep faster and wake less often throughout the night. A cool nighttime environment also encourages your body to burn more calories. And, as studies show, a colder bedroom stimulates the production of beige and brown fats, which burn energy (aka calories), and help to protect metabolic health.
What’s behind the connection between a cool bedroom, sound sleep, and weight loss? Staying cool at night stimulates your metabolism. Essentially, you need to burn more calories to keep warm.
As I’ve talked about before, a cool environment is naturally more conducive for sleep. By cool, I’m talking about a bedroom temperature of between 62-68 degrees Fahrenheit, with the optimal temperature being right in the middle, at about 65 degrees. In the evenings as we move closer to sleep, our bodies undergo a natural, gradual drop in temperature. (Like so much else going on in the body, daily thermoregulation, or rise and fall in body temperature, is regulated by circadian rhythms.) Sleeping in a cool room can enhance that natural body temperature decline that is part of our transition to sleep. The fall in body temperature that happens in this transition to sleep occurs alongside the rise in melatonin that’s both essential for sleep and helps to weight control.
Maintaining a cool sleep environment also has a direct effect on sleep quality and sleep quantity. Warmer nighttime temperatures are linked to more restless sleep with more frequent awakenings throughout the night, and less time spent in slow wave sleep and REM sleep, two deeply restorative sleep stages. Sleeping in a cool bedroom will help you fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly. Sleeping better gives powerful, fundamental assistance to weight loss.
Cool temperatures also increase the body’s stores of beige and brown fats, the “thinning” fats that burn calories, rather than storing them. A 2014 study found that brown fat increased significantly when people were exposed to cool overnight temperatures. After a month of sleeping in a 66-degree Fahrenheit nighttime environment, researchers measured an average 42 percent increase in the participants brown fat, along with an average 10 percent increase in their fat metabolism. The healthy, young adults in the study also showed better insulin sensitivity and beneficial changes to appetite hormones after the month of cool overnights. When scientists had the study participants return to a warmer nighttime sleep environment, these weight-promoting benefits diminished or reversed altogether.
Don’t just stop with turning down your thermostat! Sleeping in the nude is another comfortable way to regulate your nighttime sleep temperature and sleep more comfortably and soundly while burning more calories and increasing your calorie-burning fats.
To help cool down and achieve the ideal sleep temperature at night, I recommend to my patients the Chilipad, a mattress topper that helps to regulate body temperature throughout the night, for optimal temperatures all night long. This sleep system lets bed partners regulate their temperatures independently of one another. For each sleeper, the pad will lower temperatures early in the night, to encourage sleep and melatonin rise, and bring temperatures slightly up near to morning, when a warmer temperature helps to stimulate alertness.
Eat a sleep-friendly snack
Having an after dinner, pre-bed snack is a ritual in millions of homes. For sleep and for weight control, it’s important to keep snacking reasonably light in the evening hours. Research has clearly shown that the when of eating is really important and that people who eat a greater share of their daily calories at night are very likely to throw their circadian rhythms out of sync and gain weight.
But let’s face it—most people will go looking for a nighttime snack at least occasionally, if not regularly. The goal is to snack smart. For sleep and weight control, that involves a balance of protein and complex carbohydrates. Studies indicate that a protein-rich bedtime snack does not contribute to weight gain, and may have benefits for metabolism and muscle recovery.
With attention to these sleep habits and a commitment to making sleep a priority every day, you really can leverage your sleep to help you lose weight and stay at a healthy weight as you age.
Why do I lose weight while I sleep?
The main thing that is changing overnight is the amount of water in your system. It’s amazing how much water weighs! A gallon of water weighs 8 pounds, and a pint of water (16 ounces) weighs 1 pound (in metric, 1 liter of water weighs 1 kilogram). This means that if you drink a 1-liter bottle of soda, you instantly gain 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) from the water! That’s a big weight change, and it can happen very quickly.
Overnight, there are two processes that cause you to lose water gradually. The first is respiration. Each time you exhale, you lose a little bit of water (exhale onto a cool piece of glass and you can see this moisture). The second is transpiration through the skin, also known as sweating. Over the course of a night, both of these processes eliminate quite a bit of water.
Then there is the tradition of using the restroom prior to the morning weigh-in. That process can eliminate up to 1 pound (0.5 kilograms) of water.
According to this water information page, the average person eliminates about 1.2 liters of water in urine each day, and also eliminates about 1 liter a day through perspiration and respiration. That’s 2.2 kilograms (almost 5 pounds) of weight fluctuation happening throughout the day!
You may have heard that it’s important to drink about eight glasses of water every day. Respiration, transpiration and urination are the reasons why! See the next page to learn more.