In the wild, elephants sleep for about only 2 hours only at night then they wake up and feed(midnight snacking). At times they even spend up to 46 hours moving without sleep. Elephants are the largest land mammals. I am not a zoologist but I think the lack of long hours of sleep makes these animals fat and heavy. Guess you have also heard that for humans, we can lose weight while sleeping.
You would be wrong to think the more you are awake and active during times you should be sleeping, the more you are likely to lose weight. It is the other way round. Getting proper sleep can help you shed off some few pounds but it is not a life hack to lose like over 10 pounds. You will be able to lose weight if you combine proper dieting, effective workouts and sleeping for over 7 hours.
You will lose a few extra pounds if you get a good night’s proper sleep.
How sleep can help you lose weight
Proper sleep can enhance physical activity.
Being well-rested gives you the energy to be active throughout the next day all round. Getting more sleep increases your athletic performance when you hit the gym or just walking to burn calories.
Increased fatigue through lack of sleep will decrease your energy levels and make you less active. This makes proper sleep a weight loss strategy.
2. Getting enough sleep increases your resting metabolism.
Resting metabolic rate is the total number of calories your body burns during total rest especially sleep. During sleep, our bodies are not at full rest but processes like digestion, blood circulation, digestion, and many others keep on running burning calories in the process.
Getting fewer hours of sleep will decrease your resting metabolic rate making your body burn fewer calories while resting than you would have lost when you get proper sleep time.
3. Sleep helps you fight cravings while poor sleep increases your calorie intake.
For obvious reasons, getting long hours of sleep will help you fight the habit of midnight snacking since you will be sleeping. This helps you to avoid unnecessary calories that would have added to your weight.
If you are a person who stays awake late in the nights you will realize how hungry it feels through the night. Staying up and getting fewer hours of sleep will cause you to eat a lot through the night. This is due to the energy the body loses and to refill the energy lost, the body makes you snack throughout the energy. Also snacking will come about due to boredom that will make you eat as a way of curbing boredom.
4. Proper sleep can decrease your appetite
Sleep affects two hunger hormones which are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone released in the stomach to signal hunger in the brain while leptin is a hormone released from fat cells to suppress hunger and signal a feeling of fullness to the brain. In short, ghrelin makes you want to eat while leptin gives you the feeling of fullness.
When you get less sleeping hours, the body produces more ghrelin and less of leptin which increases your appetite and makes you eat a lot. Whereas getting adequate sleep will cause the body to release less of the ghrelin and release more leptin which will suppress your appetite with the feeling of fullness. This makes sleep a weight loss strategy since it will make your body produce with the release of leptin than ghrelin.
How many hours of sleep do you need to lose weight?
To lose weight while sleeping, you will require sufficient hours of undisturbed sleep. But how many hours are adequate to lose weight as you sleep?
Sleeping between 7-9 hours is considered healthy and adequate sleep time to help you lose weight.
How to lose weight by sleeping
In order to lose weight by sleeping, you will need quality sleep and it can be achieved in the following ways.
Limit or reduce blue light exposure
Blue light as it is called is the light from gadgets like phones, computers, and this light affects our sleep. Blu light has a disruptive effect on your sleeping.
Its, therefore, recommended to turn off or away from tv, phones, and computers an hour before you go to bed for quality sleep.
Go to bed early.
‘Early to bed, early to rise makes a man wealthy, healthy and wise.’ It’s a saying that it is true and will deliver weight loss effects effectively. Logically, going to bed early will help you avoid late-night snacking, give you enough time to sleep and you will feel so much refreshed the next morning ready for a quick morning workout.
Sleep in the dark or dimmed lights.
Sleeping in the dark will give you a peaceful and healthy rest. It will make you sleep faster since your body will have got used to the fact that when it’s dark, its sleep time. You will also have undisturbed sleep and proper rest of the body.
Have a schedule.
Sleeping at the exact time daily will make you get used and make you sleep faster. You will also be able to wake up refreshed in the morning naturally. You will have the power to exercise and you won’t be fatigued throughout the day.
Take some herbal tea if you suffer from insomnia
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes one to have trouble falling asleep. Just an hour before bedtime, grab yourself a cup of tea to fight off insomnia. Chamomile, Valeria root tea, lavender, lemon balm, passionflower and magnolia bark tea are some of the teas that will fight insomnia and give you a peaceful night’s sleep.
“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”
Eating a very light meal during dinner will help you sleep comfortably and lose weight. Going to bed with a full stomach might make it hard for you to sleep. And during sleep, digestion of food especially carbs might be ineffective. According to Sharon Zarabi a Bariatric Program Director at Lenox Hill Hospital, “If we eat carbohydrates, blood sugar becomes elevated and the body secretes insulin to take the sugar we just ate and shuttle to our cells for use.” She adds on, “If we aren’t using that energy—since we are going straight to bed—we will store those calories as fat.
It is therefore recommended to eat a light meal since we may not be able to burn a lot of calories during the night.
Here are tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Relax with meditation or stretching before bedtime.
- Let in the cold by turning off the thermostat.
- Take a hot shower for relaxation.
- Have more sex for better sleep.
How many calories do you burn as you sleep?
Guess you know that as we sleep, our bodies do not completely shut off but processes like digestion, blood circulation, and many other processes still take place. These processes burn calories and yes you lose calories as you sleep.
How many calories the body burns will depend on the body weight, hours slept and your metabolism. You can burn between 40-120 calories per hour according to the factors above.
Multiplying the number of calories with the hours slept you will realize that sleep is important as you will lose a large number of calories.
Here is a formula for how to count calories burned as you sleep.
Does sleeping too much cause weight gain?
Although getting 7-9 hours of sleep is healthy and leads to weight, sleeping beyond 9 hours will cause more harm than good. It is correct your body burns calories as you sleep but they won’t be as many calories burned while you are physically active.
Too much sleep is associated with an increase in the waistline. People who tend to sleep beyond 9 hours also happen to wake up with a great appetite which may cause them to eat large sums of food.
Too much sleeping also weakens the body making you feel lazy to work out and want to sleep more.
The bottom line, too much sleep will not award you with weight loss but rather an increased risk of many diseases and disorders.
What teas to drink to lose weight while sleeping?
Drinking a cup of herbal tea an hour before sleeping will speed up your metabolism, decrease insomnia and generally help you shed off those extra pounds. Examples of teas to drink before sleep are as follows;
- Cinnamon tea boosts your metabolism, heals insomnia and detoxes the body.
- Fenugreek tea will facilitate weight loss. It also strengthens the digestive system to give you a clear stomach for a peaceful night’s sleep.
- Chamomile tea stimulates weight loss and reduces bloating. It also has detoxing abilities to clear toxins from the body.
- Turmeric tea boosts metabolism and can be taken an hour before bedtime.
The bottom line.
Getting adequate sleeping hours will help you lose weight. But it shouldn’t be the main strategy to lose weight but rather just a healthy weight loss habit.
A proper diet and effective workouts are the key to losing weight and if combined with adequate hours of sleep, you can achieve weight loss much faster.