Weight loss can be affected by sleep


We all know that getting enough sleep and the quality of your sleep are crucial to your overall mental and physical health. If losing weight to be healthier is one of your goals, the way you sleep can be an important component. We asked experts from various fields to weigh in on what you can do to maximize weight loss while you sleep, and the results may surprise you. The bottom line? Getting good quality sleep will affect your body\’s ability to lose weight and handle stress which can lead to weight gain.

How to maximize sleep for weight loss

Carlie Gasia, certified sleep science coach at Sleepopolis, said there are a few factors to consider when thinking about weight loss. Some depend on sleep itself and some depend on what you do with your waking hours.

Get enough sleep

Aim to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to support healthy weight management, she said. Research has shown that people who sleep less tend to weigh more and have higher body fat percentages. While the number of hours is important (and many of us struggle to get those precious hours), the quality of your sleep is just as important.

Optimize sleep quality

Getting high-quality sleep, Gasia said, is critical to burning fat. Create a comfortable sleeping environment by keeping your bedroom cool, dark and quiet, she said. Limit exposure to screens before bedtime and avoid caffeine and alcohol. This will help you fall into REM sleep, a stage of sleep in which brain activity, breathing, heart rate and blood pressure increase, and it\’s also when you burn the most fat while you sleep, ha. added Rachel MacPherson, a Certified Personal Trainer and sports nutrition specialist. Finally, minimize the amount of light around you, said Yelena Wheeler MPH, RDN and MIDSS Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. That means blackout curtains in the bedroom, limited TV, and no flashlights.

Sleep at the same time every day

Having a sleep pattern helps keep the body in balance, said Blanca Garcia, a registered nutritionist. The body is a system; a balanced system can also affect how you eat; good sleep keeps you in a cycle of good habits with eating too. It may sound silly, but setting an alarm to remind you that you need to be in bed within 15 minutes can help regulate your sleep pattern.

Yulia Furmann

What you do during the day matters

Your activity levels and eating habits can play a role in how well you can maximize weight loss overnight. Here are some tips and tricks to do just that.

Increase muscle mass

Building muscle through exercise can help you burn more calories throughout the day, even while you sleep, Gasia added. Strength training exercises such as weight lifting, resistance band training, or bodyweight exercises can help build muscle mass and increase your basal metabolic rate. If you\’re new to weightlifting and want to lose weight, adding simple exercises to your cardio routine may seem manageable, and you can work your way up to more weight and higher reps as you go.

Follow a healthy diet

Many people want to know will I gain weight if I sleep after eating? and the short answer is no. Eating a healthy, balanced diet supports overall weight loss and also the fat-burning effect of sleep, but it boils down to calories in and calories out over a 24-hour period. Focus on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, Gasia said. Avoid processed and high-sugar foods that can disrupt hormones and promote weight gain. But, MacPherson added, skipping carbs at night is a myth when it comes to fat loss. It\’s about overall calorie balance (in/out) and not what happens at a particular time of day or night, she said.

Manage your stress

Stress is a major sleep disorder and can promote weight gain in general. Practice stress management, Gasia said, such as meditation, deep breathing or yoga to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. Conversely, a lack of quality sleep dramatically increases stress levels that can affect weight-loss goals, Garcia said. So getting good sleep is a great way to complement a healthy lifestyle.

One way to manage stress before bed is to use natural essential oils to improve sleep, said Po-Chang Hsu, doctor of medicine (MD) and medical content expert at SleepingOcean.com. Some people find that the smell of lavender and similar oils like chamomile and marjoram create a soothing scent in the room that helps them relax and makes it easier to fall asleep, he said. Try a few drops in a humidifier that can run while you sleep.

How many calories do you burn sleeping?

If you want to lose weight, you probably want to know how many calories you can burn while you sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, we burn about 50 calories per hour, which can vary slightly depending on our personal basal metabolic rate and how much a person weighs. The average number of calories is around 250-450 depending on these factors.

All of these factors will play a role in how you metabolize food, handle stress, and stay healthy throughout your life. If you don\’t prioritize sleep and want to lose weight, you should start.

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