Sleep Away Your Belly Fat
You dream of the day that you’ll be able to wear that slinky black dress and look like Heidi Klum (well, sort of). But, every time you see a chocolate pie in the grocery store, you freeze in your tracks hoping it is nothing more than a mirage and will disappear.
It’s all you can do to keep from grabbing it and throwing it in your basket. And, sometimes, the pie wins.
Losing weight is on par with quitting smoking or going through withdrawal from addictive drugs. It’s hard.
Most of the time, you feel like you’re banging your head on a wall and that might even sound like a possible solution. It only gets worse when you reach those stupid plateaus – and, we all do!
You’ve tried everything to kick start the weight loss again. You weigh every morsel of food. You increase the salads. You decrease the carbs. You even add an extra 5-minutes to your exercise program.
So, now, you’re hungry, scared and exhausted all in one neat bundle. But, you still haven’t lost so much as an ounce in two weeks.
You might even have gained a pound! Does this sound like you?
- Getting enough restful sleep is crucial for weight loss. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain and storing excess fat in the body.
- Relaxation is a key factor in achieving restful sleep. Avoiding stress and maintaining a regular bedtime routine can help improve sleep quality.
- Focusing too much on weight loss plateaus and minor weight gains can create unnecessary anxiety and hinder progress. It’s important to focus on overall progress and not get discouraged by small setbacks.
- Mild exercise, such as taking a walk before bedtime, can help increase oxygen to the brain and reduce melatonin levels, promoting better sleep.
- It’s important to eat something light before bed to help the body digest and use up excess starches, proteins, and sugars that could otherwise turn into fat.
Want to know a secret?
You’re doing it wrong! Eat an egg sandwich or have a bowl of cereal. Then, go to bed. That’s right! Sound silly? It’s not.
Get this: More than 21 different studies done by a bunch of different research fields accidentally discovered that a relaxing night’s sleep actually increases the amount of weight you lose!
Can this really be true? You bet it is! So, what’s the catch? Ah! It’s that little word in front of ‘sleep’ – relaxing.
Oh, and one more but I’ll get to that in a minute.
The key to sleeping away belly fat is that you have to stop worrying about those weeks that your weight flat lines. Yeah, I know.
That’s easier said than done.
Stop fretting when you gain a couple of pounds, too. And, I mean one or two – not five or ten – pounds.
If you gain five pounds in a week, you’ve cheated on your diet or decided to try the couch potato exercise program. Forget it!
It’s not the end of the world.
If you’re focused on how much weight you did not lose for the last two weeks, you’re creating an inner anxiety that is turning your dreams to nightmares – literally!
How do I know? I’ve been there!
How Does Sleeping Help Weight Loss?
The first time I read that sleeping has something to do with how many pounds I lose, I thought they were kidding. I mean, this had to be a joke, right? It couldn’t be that easy! Wrong!
Here’s the deal.
Part of the reason that you have gained weight over the years is due to what the science world calls chronic sleep deprivation.
What they mean is that you sleep 4 or 5 hours, wake up for 10 minutes or so and then go back to sleep for another hour or so. Or, you only sleep 5 hours and then you’re up for the day because your to-do list is longer than your get-done list.
All those 21-plus studies agree that the average American sleeps about 6 ½ hours a night. Sound like you? But, your body has to have time to repair and renew your physical body and it takes between 7 ½ to 8 ½ hours of restful sleep to do that!
There’s no way to rush it!
It turns out that when you sleep, your body uses your insulin to gobble up all the excess starches, proteins and sugar that it made during the day.
Think of it like this: These are the things that either get tossed out of your system or turn into fat. And, they have to be chewed up and turned to mush before they are sent to the disposal system.
Your body needs to do what is essentially a data dump, too.
It has to balance out your Ghrelin and Leptin hormones and dump the excess melatonin that causes your brain to act like a speed freak.
The point is, if you aren’t getting enough sleep or if you aren’t relaxed when you sleep, then your body can’t grind them up.
As a result, the only option it has is to store them for you. What?! That’s right. You’ll be storing extra fat – every single day that you fail to sleep good.
Don’t worry. There’s a solution.
Getting your body into the right mood to really get a solid night’s sleep is easier than you think. Here’s a few tips:
- Ditch the scale and go back to eating the normal amount your diet allows – your only stressing yourself out and stress increases those hormones that your body needs to trash tonight. Do you really want to make it harder?
- Take a lazy walk about an hour before bedtime – this mild form of exercise increases the oxygen to your brain and starts reducing the melatonin. Give your system a helping hand. Besides, it’s nice to take a walk and not feel like you have to bolt into a run at any moment.
- Force yourself to have a routine. Going to bed at the same time (within 15 – 20 minutes) lets our body know what time it’s got to go to work. Get up at the same time and do not sleep more than 8 ½ hours any night. Your boss tells you what time to show up and what time to go home. Do the same for your night worker.
- Eat something light such as an egg sandwich, a bowl of cereal or a small baked potato two hours before you go to bed. Your nightshift needs to feel loved and grumbling tummies are not acts of kindness.
The Bottom Line Is This
You really can sleep away fat and increase your weight loss as long as you stick to the diet and exercise routines you are following.
Does sleep affect belly fat?
Yes, sleep can affect belly fat. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area, as it disrupts hormones that regulate appetite, metabolism, and stress.
How many hours of sleep should I get to reduce belly fat?
Adults should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to maintain a healthy weight, which can help reduce belly fat.
How does sleep affect metabolism?
Lack of sleep can negatively impact metabolism, leading to insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, decreased levels of leptin (a hormone that regulates appetite), and increased levels of ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates appetite).
What are some tips for getting better sleep?
Some tips for getting better sleep include establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, keeping your bedroom cool and dark, and limiting exposure to electronics before bedtime.
Can taking naps help reduce belly fat?
While naps can help improve overall energy and focus, it is unclear if they can help specifically reduce belly fat. The key is to get enough quality sleep during nighttime hours.
Can exercise alone help reduce belly fat?
Exercise alone may not be enough to reduce belly fat, as it is strongly influenced by diet and lifestyle factors. However, combining exercise with healthy eating habits and adequate sleep can help promote weight loss and reduce belly fat.
What are some other health benefits of getting enough sleep?
Other health benefits of getting enough sleep include improved cognitive function, reduced risk of depression and anxiety, improved immune function, and decreased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.