How to sleep and get slim at the same time
The best way to trim a flabby tummy could be to sleep on it. Getting a good night’s sleep can help you handle stress better, repair sore muscles, restore your energy, make you feel good, and curb your appetite.
Why sleep matters
More sleep = less hunger
Sometimes, food isn’t what we need for more energy, its better sleep. Your appetite is controlled by proteins that turn your hunger pangs on and off. Sleep deprivation activates the proteins that turn on hunger, making you feel hungrier and you’ll have a hard time satisfying those hunger pangs.
More sleep = less stress
Cortisol, the stress hormone, is a key culprit in causing obesity. High levels of cortisol affect your appetite and cause a decrease in lean body mass. Normally, when waking from a full night’s sleep, cortisol levels are high but they decline rapidly after breakfast. However, when we fail to get enough sleep, cortisol levels remain elevated throughout the day, interfering with appetite regulation and increasing the conversion of food into body fat.
Better sleep = more calories burned
Researchers say that people who have more sleep burn more calories. Sleep stabilises your hormone balance which regulates the pace we burn calories. Lack of sleep can affect insulin levels which play a vital role in making sure the calories we consume are burned for energy. When we don’t get enough sleep every night, our cells become less sensitive to insulin, and instead of being burned, food calories are converted to body fat.
Better sleep = more activity
Notice how you feel drained when you don’t sleep well the night before? That’s because sleep deprivation leads to feelings of fatigue. The more exhausted we feel, the more likely we are to become inactive, which can result in weight gain. But when we have enough sleep, we feel more energised to work out and get moving.
Sleep increases muscle mass
When we get enough sleep, our body is better at producing muscle mass. A boost in muscle mass helps fat loss and maintenance of fat loss. Muscle cells burn more calories than a fat cell, which prevents extra food calories being converted into fat.
How to get better sleep
Follow these tips to help you sleep like a baby:
- Don’t eat food or drink caffeine 2-3 hours before bed – A full stomach plus caffeine will keep you awake. Light snacks such as crackers and a glass of warm milk are okay though.
- Switch off the TV – walk away from the TV or computer 30 minutes before you go to bed. Light stimulation stops the action of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep cycle.
- Establish a regular bedtime – Try to go to sleep at the same time every night and have a regular time for waking up. A bedtime ritual will program your body to make you feel sleepy at the same time every night.
- Exercise regularly – Working out can help you sleep better, but don’t do it close to bedtime. Exercise early in the morning or late afternoon.
- Avoid napping through the day – If you need a nap, take no more than a 15 minutes power nap. Anything longer can make it much harder to fall asleep in the evening.
- Create a soothing atmosphere – Reserve your bedroom for sleeping. Avoid using electronics. Dim the lights. Play some soft music. Keep the room well ventilated.
With 7 to 9 hours of shut eye, you can sleep your way to slim. But remember, you need to exercise and have a proper diet too.