Lose weight faster with the ‘sleep diet’ – how shut eye helps you burn fat – The Sun

WISH losing weight was so simple you could do it in your sleep? Well, it turns out you can.

Sleep is one of the single most important factors when it comes to shedding pounds.

Getting enough shut eye helps blitz body fat – by curbing cravings, keeping your appetite in check and giving you the energy to move more.

What's more, a bad night's sleep can alter the way the body responds to food, leaving you in a vicious cycle.

The less you sleep, the more weight you gain, and the more weight you gain, the harder it is to sleep.

Here, we look at the main ways getting a good kip can help you lose weight quicker and why the 'sleep diet' might be the weight loss tool for you…

1. Sleep more, eat less

Getting no sleep significantly increases your appetite – and the result is typically scoffing more calories and watching the scales creep up.

It's all down to two 'hunger hormones' – ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is released after the brain signals the stomach is empty, while leptin is released from fat cells to suppress hunger – and tell the brain it's full.

But, when you don't get enough zzzs, the body makes more ghrelin and less leptin – leaving you hungry and increasing your appetite.

A recent study, taken out by the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, of over 1,000 people revealed those who slept for a short duration had 14.9 per cent higher ghrelin levels and 15.5 per cent lower leptin levels than those who got an adequate sleep.

On top of this, the stress hormone cortisol which is said to increase appetite is also higher when you do not get a good sleep.

2. Curbs the cravings

Miss out on sleep and chances are your willpower and decision-making abilities will take a hit.

Being exhausted interrupts the activity in the frontal lobe – the part of the brain that's in charge of self-control and decisions.

Studies have shown being tired can cause you to eat more junk food, that's high in fat and calories.

A study of 12 men at the Centre Européen des Sciences du Goût, Dijon, France, observed the effects of sleep deprivation on food intake.

When participants were only allowed four hours of sleep, their calorie intake increased by 22 per cent, and their fat intake almost doubled, compared to when they were allowed eight hours of sleep.

3. Boosts metabolism

Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the number of calories your body burns when you're at rest – and this is affected by age, weight, height, sex and muscle mass.

Research has revealed that sleep deprivation may lower your RMR.

In particular, in one study from the University of Lübeck in Germany, 15 men were kept awake for 24 hours.

The results showed that their RMR was 5 per cent lower than after a normal night's rest, and their metabolic rate after eating was 20 per cent lower.

4. Snooze you lose… calories

People who get less sleep tend to munch more calories – especially if they're up late watching TV.

This increase in calories may be due to increased appetite and poor food choices, as mentioned above.

However, it may also simply be from an increase in the time spent awake and available to eat – especially when this time is spent being inactive.

Furthermore, some studies on sleep deprivation have found that a large portion of the excess calories were consumed as snacks after dinner.

5. Move it, move it

If you get a good night's sleep you're more likely to feel motivated to exercise.

Being well-rested also means you'll have more energy and be able to put maximum effort into your workout.

In contrast those who have had a lack of sleep are more likely to get tired earlier.

A study done on 15 men, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that when participants were sleep-deprived, the amount and intensity of their physical activity decreased.

6. Sleep beats insulin resistance

Poor sleep can cause cells to become insulin resistant, meaning sugar won't be converted into energy as quickly.

When cells become insulin resistant, more sugar remains in the bloodstream and the body produces more insulin to compensate.

The excess insulin makes you hungrier and tells the body to store more calories as fat. Insulin resistance is a precursor for both type 2 diabetes and weight gain.

The best snacks to eat before bed to aid weight loss

  • Popcorn – it's conveniently low-calories, at around 122 calories for a 30g portion.
  • Cheese – forget the myth, you can eat dairy before bed. Nutritionists have revealed it contains  something called trytophan, which is like a sleep-inducing nutrient.
  • Baby carrots – as well as helping us see in the dark, carrots are now being touted as a perfect bedtime snack. They contain alpha-carotene which is believed to have a positive impact on sleep.
  • Greek yoghurt – yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, which has been linked to improved sleep when eaten before bed.
  • Crackers with hummus – as well as being nutritious, it's also said to help aid sleep as it also contains tryrtophan.

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