We know that there is a correlation between weight loss and sleep. So, what is the best way to sleep to lose weight? The truth is that when you sleep, you do lose weight; however, you are only losing water weight, not fat.
So, unfortunately, sleeping all day is not the solution to your weight-loss problems.
On the flip side, not sleeping enough can cause you to gain weight, therefore getting enough sleep daily is still very important! Lack of sleep will affect your metabolism and ability to function at its best the next day.
In this blog post, we will explore the link between sleeping and weight loss, plus I’ll share some tips with you on how you can get a better night’s sleep.
Why Do You Lose Weight When You Sleep?
Here is what we know about sleep and weight loss:
1. You Burn Calories When You Sleep
You do burn calories when you sleep. This is when your body rebuilds and does repair work, and that requires energy.
The normal body functions that burn calories during the day continue as you sleep, too, such as:
- Heart beating
- Muscles relaxing and contracting
- Body movement
- Brain activity
- Changes in hormone levels
All that also takes energy. So if you don’t eat before bed, your body must dip into storage, which is fat, to get that energy.
However, the calories you are burning while sleeping, will not significantly impact your weight.
2. What About Water Weight?
You do lose water weight at night. The human body consists of 60 percent water. That all contributes to your overall body weight.
People sweat when they sleep, and most get up once or twice to go to the bathroom. You also lose water every time you exhale. That’s all water weight leaving the body.
When you drink fluids during the day, that weight may come back. That’s why weighing yourself first in the morning can give you a different, probably lower, number than you will get a few hours later.
Losing water weight isn’t the same thing as losing fat, though. It doesn’t contribute significantly to permanent, sustainable weight loss.
The Fact Is You Gain Weight If You Don’t Sleep Enough
It’s possible that it’s not so much that you lose weight when you sleep, but more that you gain it when you don’t get enough of it. A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that even people who eat less trying to lose weight may gain if they are not getting enough sleep.
Lack of sleep can slow down the metabolism, making it somewhat groggy. If you go days without enough sleep, it can change the way your body processes insulin.
When you don’t respond to insulin, your body struggles to process the existing fat in your bloodstream, so it stores it instead, adding pounds.
There is evidence that lack of sleep can interfere with hunger hormones, too. When they are out of balance, you may want to eat more and crave sweets. A tired brain also contributes to bad choices like binge-eating or snacking before bedtime, contributing to weight gain.
Getting enough sleep helps you have energy the next day, or else you will feel like skipping your daily workouts because you’re tired. In fact, I recommend that if you have to choose between sleeping and getting up earlier to exercise, you choose sleep!
All this means is that if you want to lose weight, you need to make sleep a priority.
How Much Weight Do You Lose When You Sleep?
Weight is a dynamic concept. It fluctuates whether you are asleep or awake. Water weight factors into that flux, too. It is possible to lose anywhere from one to three pounds overnight. That is mostly water weight.
Your body also loses carbon at night, which contributes to those lost pounds. Carbon is the foundation of organic life. The body breaks down carbohydrates and fats, which are rich in carbon, for energy.
When you sleep, some of that carbon disappears when you exhale, and you don’t replace it until you eat again. That also adds to the weight loss, but, like water, it is not sustainable.
Does Sleeping Help You Lose Belly Fat?
When someone sets out to lose weight, much of what they want to lose hangs around their middle. This might be news to you, but the fact is that you can’t spot reduce.
So, the answer is no, sleeping will not help you lose belly fat. On the other hand, the opposite is actually true. Losing belly fat helps you sleep better.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that people who reduce belly fat through exercise and diet tend to sleep better.
That’s in part due to the likelihood that someone with belly fat may develop obstructive sleep apnea. This condition wakes you up repeatedly throughout the night, making it hard to get adequate sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can increase belly fat, too. Researchers believe that sleep disorders can impact metabolism in a way that leads to an increase in belly fat.
What Is The Best Way To Sleep To Lose Weight?
When asking what is the best way to sleep to lose weight, look at your sleep habits. There are things you can do to optimize your sleep and improve your chances of weight loss. Start with getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night!
Here are the top 7 tips for a better night’s sleep:
1. You Should Go to Bed at The Same Time Every Night
Set a sleep schedule. Make it something that you can do every night, even when you don’t have to get up in the morning or go to bed early. Being inconsistent in your sleep patterns is just as bad as not getting enough sleep.
Your body wants to work on a schedule. However, you confuse it if you go to bed and get up at different times every day. Good sleep relies on you getting all the sleep stages in, and that doesn’t happen if you are not consistent with your schedule.
The brain cycles through these stages all night long. Not keeping a schedule interferes with that process and affects the quality of your sleep.
If you tend to eat when bored, then make your bedtime an early one. That will help you avoid snacking just to have something to do at night. Once you get used to going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, it will become second nature to you.
2. Give Yourself Time to Relax Before Bed
Part of your consistent schedule should be the things you do before you go to bed. Your body looks for signs that bedtime is imminent, including when you start to slow things down. Give yourself 30 minutes of quiet time reading a book or lying back in your favorite recliner before heading off to sleep.
3. Don’t Nap
Developing good sleep habits means you must avoid the afternoon nap, at least a long one. However, if you feel the need to close your eyes for ten or fifteen minutes, go ahead.
4. Do Strength Training
A balanced exercise plan is essential, too. Don’t just rely on cardio to get by; add some strength training into your routine as well. Your body continues to burn calories after you lift weights or do bodyweight exercises — even after you go to sleep.
Don’t exercise right before bed, though. That can overstimulate you and keep you from falling asleep.
5. Avoid Caffeine
If you consume caffeine before bed, it may make it hard for you to fall asleep, so avoid drinks like coffee and tea. Your best bet is to make sure that any consumption of caffeine occurs at least six hours before your target bedtime.
6. Make Dinner Light
Of your three meals, dinner should be the smallest one. Nobody likes the feeling of going to bed with a full stomach.
7. Eat Protein Throughout the Day
This revs up your metabolism in a way that continues well into the night. Protein also helps control your appetite, so you are less likely to binge eat or eat before bed.
You weigh less in the morning after waking up because you have lost water weight, not body fat. So disappointing, I know! Whether you lose weight or not, ultimately comes down to eating a healthy plant-based diet.
However, it’s still crucial that you get enough sleep or that you don’t sleep poorly at night. Or else your body might not work properly the next day.
Some of the things you can do to get enough quality rest every night are: establishing a bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine too late in the day, and turning off digital devices half an hour before you plan to fall asleep.
Have you noticed a difference in your weight when you don’t get enough sleep? Do you have any tips for getting better sleep?