Real, successful, sustainable weight loss can come from achieving excellence in a completely unexpected realm: the bedroom.
It’s true! You can absolutely sleep your way to a slimmer you. In fact, no matter how many pounds you press, how many miles you log, how much kale you crunch, it won’t get you as close to your weight loss goals as you’d expect unless you’re also getting enough quality sleep.
University of Chicago researchers found that sub-par sleep could undermine fat 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. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, make sure you avoid these 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.
1. Understand how important sleep is for weight loss
To turn sleep into prime weight loss time, realize how important a good night’s sleep is for optimizing and regulating all your bodily functions, including how you use and store caloric energy. The hunger hormones at play here are 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. People who get more sleep have reduced ghrelin and increased leptin levels, which helps to control their appetites throughout the day.
That was the finding of research conducted at the University of Wisconsin. Another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that overweight people, on average, got 16 minutes less sleep per day than people of regular weight. Although that might not sound like a big difference, those minutes—like your belly fat—accumulate over time.
2. Create a routine
By doing the same thing every night, for at least an hour before bedtime, you’re actually programming sleep triggers. These triggers could include writing in your sleep diary, having a cottage cheese snack, or indeed any other items from this list. Over time, your brain will begin to associate those things with bedtime and fast track you into fat-burning slumber
3. Obseve strict kitchen hours
Nighttime fasting—a.k.a. 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!
There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at the clock all night and cursing yourself for not being able to drift off at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., and again, at 3 a.m. It certainly doesn’t help things.
Take comfort in the fact that that merely relaxing your mind and body will help rejuvenate you in lieu of honest-to-goodness sleep. Once you’re not so excited about your inability to fall asleep, it’ll come more naturally.
5. Follow the 20-minute rule
If you’re not getting anywhere after chilling out for 20 minutes, get out of bed, leave the bedroom and do something quiet and unstimulating. Try reading a book, or flipping through a catalog.
6. Do some bodyweight exercises.
Maybe the rigamarole of getting dressed and going to the gym after dark isn’t for you, and that’s understandable. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your body weight for a quick workout before bed. According to Combat the Fat author Jeff Anderson, bodyweight exercises target muscle in a unique way due to the effect of fighting gravity. Examples of these exercises include push-ups, pull-ups, dips and bodyweight squats.