While the idea might sound really far-fetched, a growing area of research 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.
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.