Are you tired of feeling like you’re constantly battling stubborn body fat? Have you tried every fad diet and exercise routine out there but still can’t seem to shed those extra pounds? If so, it’s time to add a new strategy to your fat loss arsenal: sleep. Yes—you read that right! We spoke with an expert who shares some small but effective ways to burn body fat while you sleep.
Sleep is a crucial factor when it comes to weight loss, and not getting enough of it can hinder your progress, according to the Sleep Foundation. But did you know that you can also use the power of sleep to your advantage to help you burn more fat? We chatted with Trista Best, RD, a registered dietitian with Balance One Supplements, who shares five small but effective ways to burn body fat while you sleep. These tips are easy to implement and require minimal effort, making them perfect for busy individuals who don’t have hours to spend at the gym or in the kitchen.
From adjusting your bedtime routine to making simple dietary tweaks, these tips will help you optimize your body’s natural fat-burning processes and wake you up feeling leaner and more energized. So if you’re ready to take your weight loss journey to the next level and finally see the results you’ve been working so hard for, read on to discover the small but powerful changes you can make to your sleep routine to help you melt body fat while you snooze.
Try eating your last meal a few hours before bedtime and fast until breakfast the following day. (Or, better yet, wait until lunchtime.) This can help your body burn fat instead of glucose for energy during the night, according to a 2021 review published in Nutrients.
“Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting,” explains Best. “During the fasting period, the body uses stored fat as an energy source, leading to fat loss. When we sleep, our body enters a state of fasting naturally. Combining this with intermittent fasting can extend the fasting period, leading to greater fat loss during sleep. Additionally, intermittent fasting can help regulate hormones that affect weight loss, such as insulin and human growth hormone.”
Overall, incorporating intermittent fasting into a healthy lifestyle can be a small but effective way to promote fat loss while sleeping.
According to the National Institutes of Health, sleeping in a cool room can boost your metabolism and activate brown fat, which burns calories to generate heat. So turn down the thermostat and let your body do the work while you rest.
“When we sleep in a cool environment, our body works harder to maintain its core temperature, which can lead to an increase in the number of calories burned,” says Best. “Additionally, sleeping in a cool room can improve the quality of our sleep, which can also aid in weight loss. Poor sleep has been linked to hormonal imbalances that can lead to weight gain. Furthermore, a cool sleeping environment can increase the body’s production of brown fat, which burns calories to generate heat.”
While sleeping in a cool room may seem like a small change, it can be an effective way to promote fat loss while sleeping.
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Strength training can give your metabolism a boost, according to the Mayo Clinic. This means lifting weights can help you burn more calories—even while you sleep (aka when your body’s at rest). Try doing a quick strength workout in the evening to rev up your metabolism before bedtime.
“Strength training can increase muscle mass, which leads to an increase in the body’s metabolic rate, resulting in greater calorie burning, even while at rest,” states Best. “In addition, lifting weights can stimulate the production of human growth hormone, which plays a role in fat loss and muscle growth. Exercise can also improve sleep quality and reduce stress, leading to a more restful night’s sleep, aiding in weight loss.”
According to the Cleveland Clinic, cold showers and ice baths have been shown to stimulate brown fat, similar to sleeping in a cool room. Plus, the shock of cold water can ramp up your metabolism and help you torch more calories throughout the day.
“Cold showers can increase the body’s production of brown fat, which burns calories to generate heat. They can also improve sleep quality and reduce inflammation, leading to a more restful night’s sleep and supporting healthy weight loss,” says Best.
Research shows that eating a meal right before bed can cause your body to store the excess calories as fat rather than burning them for energy. Therefore, avoid eating for at least two to three hours before bedtime to allow your digestive system to do its thing and help your body shed fat while sleeping.
“Consuming large amounts of food can make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep throughout the night, negatively impacting the quality of your rest. Eating a light meal a few hours before bed can help your body digest food more efficiently and prevent excess calories from being stored as fat,” says Best.