9 Sneaky Ways to Lose Weight In Your Sleep
If you thought losing weight was only possible through sweat-drenched workouts and endless dieting, think again. We've got some fantastic news that'll have you jumping into bed with joy: You can shed those pesky pounds while catching some Z's. We chatted with nutrition and fitness experts who spilled the beans on nine sneaky ways to lose weight in your sleep. However, don't go thinking these are weight loss gimmicks. We've dug deep, consulted experts, and gathered science-backed intel to make your slumber work wonders on your waistline.
According to a 2021 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, better sleep was linked to increased weight loss and fat loss and lower rates of obesity. So keep reading to uncover the 11 sneaky expert tips for shedding pounds in your sleep, then check out these 8 Little Things You Can Do Every Night To Lose More Weight.
Get enough sleep.
First and foremost, getting enough sleep is essential for healthy weight management. Studies show that sleeping at least seven hours every night can help keep your hunger hormones in check and your metabolism active.
Nadia Murdock, CPT, a cognitive behavioral therapist and certified personal trainer at Garage Gym Reviews, tells ETNT, "When you aren't getting enough rest, you tend to eat more, causing your hormones to be disrupted. This can alter how full or hungry you may feel during the day, and you may crave certain foods that are most likely higher in calories, carbohydrates, and fat. Additionally, your body burns more calories when you sleep soundly longer, also known as deep sleep."
Stretch before bed.
Before you hit the sack, consider doing some pre-sleep stretching. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, stretching can improve sleep quality. It may also boost your circulation and muscle recovery, making you feel fantastic the next morning.
"Gentle movement like stretching can increase the calories you burn and help support a more restful night's sleep," says Murdock. "Stretching has been proven to help the body function better by reducing muscle tension. When there's muscle tension, it can disrupt your adrenal glands and cause cortisol to kick in, causing weight gain."
Create a healthy sleep environment.
The Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and free of distractions like electronic gadgets for optimal sleep. A calm, tranquil sleep environment can help you sleep longer and better, aiding in weight loss.
"It's essential to sleep and have a restful night's sleep in a REM state. A large part of that includes creating the proper sleeping environment. Ensure the room temperature is as dark as possible to keep your circadian rhythm aligned and optimize your metabolism," says Murdock.
Hydrate throughout the day.
Stay hydrated throughout the day to support your body's many functions, boost your metabolism, and curb unnecessary snacking. According to a 2021 study, even mild dehydration can cause false hunger signals.
Murdock tells us, "Hydrating will help to avoid late-night interruptions with the need to use the bathroom and disrupt your sleeping pattern. Ideally, you want to stop drinking liquids two hours before bed."
Avoid eating before going to bed.
Late-night cravings are tempting, but try to resist the urge to eat right before bed. Research reveals that eating late can negatively affect your digestion and cause you to overconsume calories, leading to weight gain. Instead, enjoy a light, early dinner to give your body plenty of time to digest before you hit the hay.
"Ideally, you want to stop eating two to three hours before bed," says Murdock. "You want to give your body enough time to digest food and rest during the night truly. Additionally, eating too late and laying flat on your back with a full stomach can cause belly fat, reflux, and indigestion."
Ensure a good sleep schedule.
A consistent sleep schedule is essential for healthy weight loss. The findings from a 2020 study suggest you maintain a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
"Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night," says Trista Best, RD, a registered dietitian with Balance One Supplements. "Poor sleep patterns can disrupt the body's natural metabolism and hormonal balance, which may lead to weight gain or hinder weight loss."
Sleep in a cool room.
Keep your bedroom cool and comfortable for better sleep. Studies show that sleeping in cooler temperatures can help your body relax and promote deep restorative rest.
"Cooler temperatures can promote brown fat activation, a type of fat that burns calories to generate heat. Sleeping in a room around 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celcius) might help your body burn more calories during sleep," says Best.
Manage stress levels.
Stress and sleep are closely linked and both play a role in weight management. According to a study published in the Journal of Molecular Biochemistry, participants with overweight or obesity who practiced stress management techniques experienced substantial weight reduction compared to participants who didn't.
Best explains, "High stress can lead to imbalanced cortisol levels, which may contribute to weight gain. Engage in relaxation techniques before bedtime, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, to promote better sleep and reduce stress."
Avoid caffeine and stimulants.
Cutting back on caffeine and stimulants, especially in the afternoon and evening, can seriously upgrade your sleep quality. Opt for caffeine-free alternatives like herbal teas for a more restful night's sleep.
"Refrain from consuming caffeine or other stimulants several hours before bedtime," says Best. "These substances can disrupt sleep patterns and interfere with your body's natural sleep-wake cycle, potentially affecting weight management."
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