How many meals did you eat yesterday?
Although you answered this question, there is a chance that you actually ate much more often than you remember. According to research at the Salka Institute, most of us now pack a few mini-cups a day. And the longer we’re on our feet, the more calories we eat.
Scientists speculated that the best way to reduce the amount of calories consumed might be simply to get more sleep, so they asked people who ate for 14 hours each day to reduce the grazing time to no more than 11 hours a day and sleep more time. After 16 weeks, the participants lost 3.5 percent of their excess weight on average – only by going to bed earlier.
This means that just a few simple changes in the p.m. routine can mean serious success in losing weight. So open your eyes: Here are some scientifically backed suggestions you might lose during your nap.
1-Tryp your sleep switch
Don’t count the sheep, eat the lamb! Or better yet, some turkey. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in most meat, has shown strong sleep-stimulating properties. A study published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease among “mild” insomnia showed that only 1/4 gram – about what can be found in a chicken’s skinless shank or three ounces of lean turkey meat – was enough to significantly increase deep sleep hours. And that can translate into easy weight loss.
“Any food containing tryptophan, which contains nuts, chicken, fish, lentils and eggs, can help trigger deep sleep syndrome,” says Julia Falamas, trainer at Crossfit Spot Barbell in New York. “If you’re the type that can’t sleep on an empty stomach, a healthy source of fat, such as avocado or peanut butter, can help stop hunger while providing regenerative properties,” she adds.
2-Schedule tea time
“There is something in the ritual of sitting in a soothing cup of tea that tells your brain to slow down and rest,” says Falamas. “Some of the best sleeping teas are chamomile, peppermint, lavender and valerian, which actually have some calming properties.
3-Eat whole grains at lunch
You know to avoid big meals, coffee, cola and alcohol before bedtime, but do you know that it is best to eat your complex carbohydrates at lunchtime rather than over dinner? “Serotonin turns into melatonin at your sleep stage 3 REM, and serotonin comes from whole-grain complex carbohydrates.” So you don’t have to have carbohydrates before bedtime, just have them at some point during the day.” – says Cat Smiley, owner of Whistler Fitness Vacations, a weight loss retreat for women.
In addition, to achieve your daily fiber target, “about 20 grams of insoluble fiber is important to allow you to sleep, so aim to eat that every day, and you will be able to convert enough serotonin to sleep well”. That’s about two pieces of wholemeal bread (we like Ezekiel Bread) – avocado toasting encourages! or a cup of brown rice.
4-If you eat at night, keep it small
While you shouldn’t go to bed starving (which creates your own sleeping problems at all times), you shouldn’t hit the bag completely stuffed. When you eat a large meal before bedtime, your body works to digest it long at night – and if your body is still stuffed, you too. The later you fall asleep, the less rest you get and wake up with a feeling of struggle and a higher probability of reaching for calories.
Instead of eating a monstrous meal for dinner, try to keep the portions more or less the same as for breakfast and lunch, especially if you are having dinner later. “You want to have your last meal at least an hour or two before going to bed” – This is Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN.
5-Better yet, set strict kitchen hours
A night-time post-secondary kitchen closure early can help you lose more weight, even if you eat more during the day, according to a study in Cell Metabolism. Experiment with closing the kitchen at 8pm and skipping breakfast.
6-Try a protein shake
According to a study by the State University of Florida, having a protein cocktail before hitting the bag can increase metabolism. Scientists discovered that men who ate an evening snack, which contained 30 grams of protein, had a higher level of metabolic rest the next morning than when eating nothing. Protein is more thermogenic than carbohydrates or fats, which means that your body burns more calories by digesting them.
Use vegan protein powder, which will give you the same benefits in terms of burning fat, relieving hunger, building muscles, without bloating, which comes from whey.
7-Relax with breathing, meditation, or stretching
Striking some poses before sleep can have a strong impact on the quality of sleep because yoga focuses on breathing and meditation. “Yoga offers many benefits, from increased flexibility and strength to a calmer mind.” – says Mark Balfe-Taylor, director of yoga at TruFusion. He recommended “Pose Deaf Man.”
8-Let in the cold
A striking new study published in the magazine “Diabetes” suggests that just blowing up an air conditioner or reducing heat in winter can help us attack abdominal fat while we sleep. Colder temperatures subtly increase the efficiency of our brown fat stores keeping heat, helping to burn the fat stored in our abdomen. Participants spent several weeks sleeping in bedrooms with different temperatures: neutral 75 degrees, cool 66 degrees and embalming 81 degrees. After four weeks of sleeping at 66 degrees, participants almost doubled the amount of brown fat. (And yes, that means they lost abdominal fat.)
9-Throw out the night light
Exposure to light at night not only interrupts the chances of a great night’s sleep, but can also cause weight gain, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Those surveyed who slept in the darkest rooms were 21 percent less likely to be obese than those sleeping in the lightest rooms.
This leads us to our next sleep-slimming trick…
10-Hide the iPad
Research suggests that the more electronics we bring into the bedroom, the fatter we will be – especially among children. Studies conducted in the Pediatric Obesity Journal have shown that children who get warmed up in the nightlight of a TV or computer don’t get enough rest and suffer from bad life habits. The researchers found that students with access to one electronic device were 1.47 times more likely to be overweight than children without devices in the bedroom. For children with three devices it increased to 2.57 times.
Conclusion: Leave your iPad in the living room. Your spouse can thank you too.
11-Turn off the TV
Did you know that skinny people watch less TV? A recent study published in JAMA showed that for every two hours spent watching TV, the risk of diabetes, heart disease and premature death increased by 20, 15 and 13 percent respectively. Scientists still wonder exactly why sitting is so harmful to health, but one obvious and partial explanation is that the less we move, the less fuel we need; excess blood sugar floods the bloodstream and contributes to diabetes and other weight-related risks.
Find out how only a few other easy improvements can help you lose up to 4 inches from your waist – quickly – with these best nutritional tips ever!
12-Blackout with blackout shades
Light blocking curtains make a huge difference when it comes to falling asleep. External light makes it difficult for your mind to shut down, even if you think you’re immune to such instinctive signals. Melatonin, a hormone that participates in putting the body to sleep, is at risk when light is present.
13-Take a hot shower
If you normally bathe in the morning, listen. “A hot shower is great for a good night’s sleep because it can help relieve tension and relieve sore muscles. In addition, it can increase the level of oxytocin – the hormone “love” released by your brain – which can be very soothing,” says Falamas. The heat from the shower also increases the body temperature, causing a rapid drop in temperature when you go out and take off the towel, which helps relax the whole system. A hot bath will also have the same effect.
14-Skip the chocolate
Don’t get us wrong. We love chocolate. In fact, any bar that contains at least 70 percent cocoa is one of our favorite low sugar snacks or desserts because of its high concentration of antioxidants and ability to ignite stress. Unfortunately, if you eat it too late, it can be a reason why you can’t sleep. Dark chocolate contains 40 to 50 mg of caffeine per 40-gram portion, according to research conducted by the Consumer Lab, which can prevent your body from shutting down when you want, if you are sensitive to this compound.
15-Don’t indulge in a nightcap
Wine is our favorite “healthy” alcoholic beverage because of its resveratrol plant compound, which has been linked to the benefit of heart health, although more research needs to be done, according to a review published in the journal Nutrients. However, according to Smith, this evening glass of wine is also considered a highly sweetened drink. Drinking too much can make sleeping difficult. It may seem that an evening glass of wine relaxes and helps you to fall asleep more quickly, but in fact prevents your body from enjoying the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle, which is a place where you can really get a peaceful sleep and dream.
Drink a glass earlier at night – about two hours before bedtime – to avoid disturbing your sleep, and close your home bar after one or two glasses, tops.
16-Have more sex
You want to sleep better and lose more weight? Have more sex. A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine shows that for every extra hour of sleep women got, their sexual desire has increased accordingly. And a separate study by Adelaide’s sleep researcher Dr. Michele Lastella showed that the more sex you get, the better you sleep and the more weight you lose.
17-Splurge on a pillow
When it comes to a better night’s sleep, some gadgets are total ripoffs (like those as-seen-on-TV anti-snoring contraptions), but investing in the right pillow is key. “Buying an orthopedic pillow keeps your neck aligned. You’ll wake up in the morning with no neck pain,” says Smiley.