By Naomi Greenaway
What if you could lose weight by simply curling up under the covers and nodding off to sleep?
It may sound too good to be true, but according to experts, the right bedtime habits can help you shed weight whilst you are in the land of nod.
Sleeping naked, sipping on grape juice and even indulging in a bedtime snack can all help the body burn fat during the night.
Here’s how to perfect your sleeping habits to ensure your sleep time turns into slimming time.
Research has found that sleeping in your birthday suit can speed up night-time weight loss.
No, it’s not due to an increase chance of getting up to some calorie-burning exercises between the sheets, but due to the fact that sleeping naked helps increase your metabolic rate.
If the body is cold at night, it produces a fat to heat up the body. That may not sound immediately appealing, but in fact the process helps burn calories.
While producing the fat keeps you body warm, it also ups your metabolism and eats up calories.
Have a snack
It may sound totally counter-intuitive but eating before bedtime can actually be good for your diet.
Dr Michelle Braude, founder of thefoodeffect.co.uk tells FEMAIL: ‘Completely avoiding food before bedtime can actually be bad for your weight loss goals.
‘First, going to bed with a rumbling tummy makes falling asleep difficult. Second, people who wake up feeling hungry are far more likely to pig out on a big breakfast.’
Michelle suggests sticking to a snack that’s less than 300 calories and avoiding junk food.
Greek yoghurt and fruit, whole-grain crackers, cereal with skimmed milk, peanut butter on toast, low-fat cottage cheese with fruit and popcorn are all great for pre-bed time munchies, according Michelle.
‘Greek yoghurt is high in protein, low in sugar and really fills you up. Calcium has also been shown to help with sleep and boost weight loss,’ she explains.
‘The fruit is packed with vitamins, antioxidants, fibre and serotonin, which has been shown to help improve sleep.
‘Whole-grain crackers make a very healthy late-night snack, as they contain protein and can go a long way in helping you feel full.
‘You can have them with hummus, low-fat cheese or a slice of lean meat such as turkey, which is rich in the sleep hormone tryptophan.
‘A peanut butter-on-toast combo contains protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates which encourage the release of melatonin, helping you relax and have a good night sleep.’
Train before bed
Doing a hard workout increases your resting metabolic rate even after you have put down the weights, so why not put those lazy hours in bed to good use.
The International Journal of Sport Nutrition found that the spike in the body’s metabolic rate lasts for an average of 16 hours after exercising.
While training hard before bedtime may have its benefits, Charlotte Wikler, personal trainer and co-founder of ace-lifestyle.com, warns that an intense workout can also disrupt sleep.
‘Often people don’t sleep well if their heart rate is high and it would be counterproductive to train before bed if it gets in the way of a good night’s sleep,’ she says.
Sip grape juice
A study at Washington State University last year found that a substance called resveratrol, found in wine and grape juice, as well blueberries, strawberries and apples, can help turn bad fat into good.
The lead researcher Professor Min Du explained that resveratrol converts ‘white fat’ into ‘beige fat’, which is much easier to burn.
If necking a glass of wine before bed, doesn’t seem a healthy habit to adopt, opting for a grape juice is an excellent alternative.
Grape juice also contains simple carbs, which trigger insulin secretion at night, the hormone that controls the body clock.
Sleep in a dark room
A University of Oxford study found that women who slept in a blacked out rooms were 20 per cent less likely to be obese than women who slept in lighter rooms.
This is because light can cut down your body’s production of melatonin, which interferes with sleep quality.
At the simplest level, studies have found that when we are tired we over-eat and have less control over what we consume.
Research from the University of Colorado found dieters consumed six per cent fewer calories when they got enough sleep.
Sleep also reduces the amount of ghrelin and increases the leptin in the body, which are responsible for controlling appetite. Ghrelin stimulates hunger, while leptin triggers satiation.
Source: DailyMail | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide