Wouldn't it be great if you could lose weight while catching a bit of shuteye? Good news - you can! Here are five handy ways you can burn fat while you're asleep.
Drink a casein shake
Whilst proteins such as whey are perfect for a post workout boost, their rapid-absorbing nature means they're not as effective before you hit the hay. Instead, choose casein protein if you want to boost your overnight fat burning. Casein is a gradually digested protein that can take your body around six to eight hours to break down. This means your metabolism will be kept active throughout the night, and you'll wake up feeling energetic instead of starving.
Casein's fat burning credentials were confirmed in a Dutch study, which discovered a boost in overnight metabolic rate following consumption of the protein. Similarly, researchers at Maastricht University found that casein enhances overnight protein synthesis, which helps to repair and strengthen muscles. When you consider that every extra pound of muscle burns 30-35 calories every day, this is an added bonus of this super-protein that should not be ignored.
That's right; one of the most effective ways to shift those pounds while you sleep is to quite simply get more of it. With our hectic schedules nowadays sleep is often neglected, but if you want to lose weight that needs to change. Don't believe us? A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that overweight people on average got 16 minutes less sleep per day than their regular-weight counterparts. It doesn't sound like very long, but over time that difference builds up.
So why does sleep help keep you slim? It's all to do with the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin helps to regulate your energy levels and keep your appetite low, while ghrelin stimulates hunger and often initiates the need to eat. The results of a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that participants who got more sleep had reduced ghrelin and increased leptin levels, which helped to control their appetites throughout the day.
Eat cottage cheese before bed
Eating food before bed is often seen as taboo when it comes to dieting, but this is actually dependant on what kind of food you choose. Avoiding food completely before sleeping can actually have the opposite effect, as people who wake up feeling hungry are far more likely to binge on food at breakfast. A small snack of cottage cheese before bed is a great choice as it is rich in - yep, you guessed it - casein protein.
As an added bonus cottage cheese contains the amino acid tryptophan. A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that tryptophan improves quality of sleep, and reduces the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. This means cottage cheese will keep hunger at bay throughout the night, and ensure you sleep for a decent amount of time. What's not to like?
Whilst sleep alone is great for encourage weight loss, there are some exercises you can do before bed that will help the process along. One of the best approaches is some pre-slumber resistance training. Burning fat is all about boosting your metabolism, and resistance training is great for this. In fact, according to a journal published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition, subjects who performed resistance exercises enjoyed a higher resting metabolic rate for an average of 16 hours following their workout.
This resistance training session doesn't need to be excessive. A simple weight lifting routine will suffice, even if it doesn't push you to the limit and leave you breathless. It's well worth following this up with a casein shake; as mentioned earlier this will ensure consistent muscle recovery throughout the night while you sleep.
Eat small meals throughout the day
'Eat little and often', is a favourite tip of trainers and dieticians the world over, and you'll be glad to hear this is a great way of boosting your nocturnal weight loss. Eating small meals frequently throughout the day serves to keep your metabolism ticking over, and will ensure your body continues burning fat throughout the night. Of course, these meals need to be healthy and nutritious for this technique to work!
As well as boosting your metabolism while you're asleep, this frequent eating method will ensure your appetite is kept in check, which should reduce any cravings you have when you wake up in the morning.
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