NOTE: this blog contains some of the most overlooked evidence based factors to increase weight loss – and you can do them all starting tonight.
It’s an undisputed fact that sleep is essential for health, brain function, energy and weight loss – research is constantly showing us that not getting enough sleep reduces the amount of fat lost, increases hunger levels, disrupts hormonal balance and reduces metabolic rate.
We now have scientific evidence that the amount of sleep you have makes a HUGE difference to the fat lost when dieting. If you want to lose some weight you cannot ignore your sleep habits. It is just as important as the calories you consume or the exercise you do.
As a metabolic researcher and coach who focuses on helping people get lean, increase metabolism and improve health, I’m constantly researching strategies to get a cutting edge on optimal health and fat loss.
Today I share 10 simple evidence based facts about sleep, your sleeping environment, nutrition and your evening habits, that can easily help you lose more fat starting from TONIGHT.
GET A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP – Sleep more. Lose more.
Before you read the remaining nine, let’s look at the research about sleep and why it’s so important for weight loss. Research and science prove time and time again – SLEEP MORE, LOSE MORE.
Poor quality or insufficient sleep:
- Slows metabolism;
- Encourages the body to store calories as fat – poor quality sleep triggers overproduction of insulin and cortisol; high level of these hormones promote the body to store energy as fat, especially around the abdomen. Research has found that after just 4 days of insufficient sleep insulin sensitivity drops by more than 30%;
- Sleep deprivation makes you “metabolically groggy,” University of Chicago researchers say. Within just 4 days of insufficient sleep, your body’s ability to process insulin— a hormone needed to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy — goes awry, resulting in fat storage. Insulin sensitivity, dropped by more than 30% and risk of diabetes increased 16% http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/07/071231.sleep.shtml;
- This same study also found that “when you’re sleep deprived, your body almost immediately develops conditions that resemble diabetes” and that “a study of people in their late 20s and early 30s who slept fewer than six and a half hours per night showed they essentially had the insulin sensitivity of someone over 60.;
- Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair immune function; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8621064/;
- Being awake for 16 hours straight decreases your alertness and focus as much as if your blood alcohol level were .05%;
- Grehlin levels rise when we don’t get enough sleep, stimulating hunger;
- Leptin promotes feeling full – Leptin drops when you don’t get enough sleep
- Lack of sleep reduces the neurotransmitter Serotonin and makes us feel low/flat;Cortisol triggers cravings for fat and unhealthy carbohydrates – cortisol increases without adequate sleep;p
-A 2-week study that monitored the development of the common cold after giving people nasal drops with the cold virus found that those who slept less than 7 hours were almost 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19139325/
-Copious studies find that people who sleep well lose more fat, while sleep deprived participants actually lose more muscle. This research found that “those who slept five hours per night were 73 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept eight hours “. That should make anyone rethink sleep
-This study found that women who are sleep-deprived are a third more likely to gain 33 pounds over the next 16 years than those who have even just seven hours of sleep per night.
– Here are links that thatsSleep has a major effect on long-term inflammation, cell damage and bowel disorders in your body. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3882397/
A LITTLE BIT OF MILK, GELATIN AND HONEY BEFORE BED
One of the benefits of Pro-Metabolic Nutrition is that it increases sleep quality, hormonal balance, metabolic rate and fat loss.
How? Well blood sugar levels fall at night so your body uses stored glucose (sugars) from your liver for energy. Without enough glucose, cortisol and adrenaline will rise, resulting in reduced fat burning, night wakings and a reduction in metabolic rate.
So a little bit of honey and milk before bed hits the spot. – and this is what Pro-Metabolic nutrition is all about – increasing metabolic rate, fat burning, beautiful sleep and hormonal health.
On top of that Pro-Metabolic nutrition at night helps keep cortisol low (by ensuring adequate glucose) which is integral for fat burning.
Mike McInnis, pharmacist, researcher and author of ‘The Honey Diet’ writes,
“You have to replenish your liver before sleep….Honey is the gold standard food for doing that – no other food that I know of can do this as can honey, and without digestive burden. Honey at bedtime, in addition to better sleep, improves our memory and concentration capacity and protects us against the damages of mental aging and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. Our anabolic profile is improved, fat burning is increased and it is one of the best cures for insomnia”
It has been confirmed over and over again that people who take honey at bedtime constantly lose more weight”
My best sleep inducing, pro-metabolic, pre-bed snack – MILK, RAW HONEY, GELATIN AND SALT
The combination of milk, honey and salt have a similar effect on body as that does thyroid hormone (T3) – it helps regulate body temperature, down regulates adrenalin, reduces cortisol, supports metabolism and helps regulate sleep
Salt helps improve circulation, raises body temperature and lowers night-time aldosterone / cortisol / adrenaline. The glycine in gelatin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter; promoting natural sleep.
As sleep is essential for fat loss and thriving health all my Pro-Metabolic meal plans include a pro-thyroid bedtime snack aimed at inducing sleep.
I CAN HONESTLY SAY, if you have trouble with sleep (or evne trouble losing weight) then seriously try my pro-metabolic meal plans with simple sugars and a more balanced (less stressful) approach to lifestyle and nutrition and let me know how great you feel, how much weight you lose and how marvellous your sleep becomes
LIMIT ALCOHOL BEFORE BED
You may think that nightcap before bed is great because it helps you fall asleep easily, BUT it actually prevents you from having a quality night’s sleep and in fact is likely to cause sleep and breathing problems.
Alcohol is metabolised during the second half of the night, and at this time its sedative effects wear off. It creates more fragmented sleep, (vivid dreams, restlessness sleepwalking, nightmares). You are more likely to wake up in the second half of the night as the alcohol is being metabolised and this prevents you from getting deep sleep or REM sleep. Remember it’s in our REM sleep that we burn the most fat.
Since alcohol is a sedative it relaxes all your body including the muscles which enables your airways to close. This can result in breathing problems whist sleeping.
DARKEN YOUR BEDROOM
Research shows that people who live in more densely populated areas that are lit at night, are more likely to have trouble sleeping.
Bright light at night interferes with quality of sleep by Disrupting the circadian rhythm, our sleep wake cycle.
Our circadian rhythm causes us to feel alert or sleepy, depending on the time of the day, Your levels of melatonin, the sleep-promoting hormone, rise in the evening and exposure to light delays the release of that hormone.
Light exposure at night is, in essence, disrupting our circadian rhythm. It not only keeps you alert but is the strongest external cue that it is time to be awake. Disrupted circadian rhythms are not only linked to sleep problems but also to weight gain, obesity, depression and diabetes.
The more light there is, the less sleep you get
CUT OFF SCREEN TIME FROM PHONES ETC 30MIN BEFORE SLEEP
Smart phones and electronic devices give off a blue light that is an artificial colour that mimics daylight. The blue light can make you feel alert which is great for the day but at night it can prevent you from falling asleep and disrupt your circadian rhythms.
Research has found a correlation between suppressed levels of melatonin and exposure to blue light. Melatonin is a hormone responsible for controlling your circadian rhythms, (your sleep-wake cycle). So when your body runs low on melatonin, you can experience sleep issues, insomnia, tiredness during the day and irritability – and from what we know if you don’t get quality sleep, it’s a sure factor to weight gain.
HAVE A HOT SHOWER
Studies have shown that taking a hot shower can spike your oxytocin levels, ease anxiety and counters the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Oxytocin induces sleep. Research has shown that Oxytocin released in the brain under stress-free conditions naturally promotes sleep.
Hot showers can also relieve aches and pains, stimulate circulation, loosening joints and tissues, which relaxes your body and prepares it for sleep.
MAKE YOUR ROOM COLD
Another study found that simply blasting the air conditioner (or keeping your room cool) can help you burn belly fat while you sleep. Colder temperatures subtly enhance the effectiveness of our stores of brown fat.
Have you heard of have heard of brown fat? Not many have – it’s also called brown adipose tissue, it is a special type of body fat that is activated when you get cold. Brown fat produces heat to help maintain your body temperature when it is cold and is effective at burning white body fat, the type of fat no wants to have. White fat breaks down blood sugar (glucose) and fat molecules. This leads to metabolic changes that increase overall fat burning. It is white fat that causes obesity.
In one study participants spent a few weeks sleeping in bedrooms with varying temperatures: a neutral 23.8 °C (75 °F), a cool 18.8 °C (66 °F), and a warm 27 °C (81 °F). After four weeks of sleeping at 18.8°C, the subjects had almost doubled their volumes of brown fat, which meant they were able to burn more belly fat. This Is a very very good thing for those who want to look leaner and lose weight.
ADD COCONUT OIL TO YOUR DINNER
Coconut oil is a staple in all my Pro-Metabolic meal plans for its amazing ability to speed up metabolism. Study after study has found that diets containing coconut oil increases energy, prevents oxidative damage, has a positive effect on fat loss, improves thyroid gland functioning, reduces insulin levels, reduces lower abdominal fat and increases glucose utilization – its possibly the elixir of life
Because the fatty acids contained in coconut oil (which are called medium-chain triacylglycerol’s, or MCTs) are shorter and more water-soluble than those found in other oils, your body is able to break them down in such a way as to provide a faster and more direct route to the liver where they’re burned for fuel.
Studies have found that by adding MCTs (the fatty acids in coconut oil) to a meal, you can increase the thermic effect of your meal by up to 50 percent!!!
Simply cooking your evening meal in or with one tablespoon of coconut oil will do wonders for your metabolic rate and fat burning.
GO TO BED AND WAKE UP AT THE SAME TIME
Establishing and respecting your natural circadian rhythms is one of the best strategies for healthy sleep and fat loss. Our circadian rhythms are roughly a 24 hour cycle which determine our sleeping, eating and metabolic rate. There are clear patterns of brain wave activity, hormonal production, cell regeneration, metabolic functioning and other biological activities linked to our cycle.
Modern society poses many challenges to our health and weight – most of these are because they are disrupting our body clock (shift work, sleep deprivation, fasting lack of sunlight, blue light from devises at night, irregular sleeping and eating habits).
Research is now finding that circadian disruption results in irregular and unbalanced spikes of insulin, cortisol, melatonin, adrenalin, serotonin, growth hormone, grehlin, leptin and thyroid hormone – all which results in increased weight gain, poor sleep, energy plummets, and the increased incidence and severity of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
DON’T DO HIGH INTENSITY EXERCISE BEFORE BED
Research has shown that high intensity, interval like exercise before bed makes it harder to fall asleep and reduce the quality of your sleep.
Your body’s parasympathetic activity increases as your bedtime approaches to help you fall asleep but if you hit it hard at night, your heart rate will remain elevated which can keep your body from switching to rest mode. This is only in relation to vigorous exercise, not gentle or even moderate exercise
If exercising late at night, opt for strength training or more gentler forms of cardio.
If you are serious about losing weight, then you need to be serious about your lifestyle and environment to improve metabolism, hormonal balance and ensures quality sleep.
PM me for any further information on this research or how to implement a more pro-metabolic lifestyle.
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