7 weight-loss activities to do before going to bed

Follow these tricks to transform yourself into a lean mean fat-burning machine while you snooze

UMNIA SHAHID April 19, 2016

Have you been in the doldrums due to weight gain of late? Can’t seem to spare enough time to log in gym sessions? The good news is that now, you don’t have to. Just a few simple tweaks to your PM routine can lead to some serious weight loss success. As compiled from eatthis.com, Shape magazine and the New York Times bestseller Zero Belly Diet, follow these tricks to transform yourself into a lean mean fat-burning machine while you snooze.

Become a carnivore at dinner

You heard that right! Tryptophan, an amino acid found in most meats, has confirmed powerful sleep-inducing effects. A recent study among insomniacs found that just 1/4 gram —what you’ll find in a skinless chicken drumstick or three ounces of lean beef — is enough to significantly boost your hours of deep sleep. And that can translate into an easy slim-down. Researchers from the University of Colorado found that dieters consumed 6% fewer calories when they got enough sleep. For someone on a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s 120 calories per day, which could amount to nearly a one-pound weight loss in a month! The National Sleep Foundation recommends at least seven to eight hours of sleep for most adults.

7 secrets to instant abs

Do push-ups before hitting the sheets

Did you know that a little bit of pre-sleep resistance training can really help to enhance weight loss during sleep? Maybe the hassle of getting dressed and going to the gym after dark isn’t for you and that’s understandable. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your body weight for a quick workout before hitting the sack. According to 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. According to Jeff Anderson, author of Combat the Fat, bodyweight exercises targets muscles in a unique way due to the effect of fighting gravity. Examples of these exercises include push-ups, pull-ups, dips and bodyweight squats.

Shake things up — literally

Having a protein shake before getting into bed can, in fact, boost your metabolism, according to a Florida State University study. Researchers found that men who consumed good snacks in the evening that included 30 grams of either whey or casein protein had a considerably higher resting metabolic rate the next morning than when eating nothing. Protein is more thermogenic than carbs or fat, meaning your body burns more calories, simply by digesting it.

Take a shower

Sleep is induced in part by the process of your body cooling down. That is why we don’t sleep too well when the weather’s too hot and muggy. When you take a shower before bed, you activate your body’s thermostat, causing you to fall asleep faster. Better sleep means lower levels of stress hormone cortisol, which also happens to store fat. A nighttime shower also helps stimulate brown fat, a kind of fat found at the back of the neck that helps your body burn more calories — up to 275 in three hours, in fact!

Say no to night lights

Recurring exposure to light at night doesn’t just interrupt your chances of a good night’s sleep, it may also result in weight gain, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Study subjects who slept in the darkest rooms were 21 per cent less likely to be obese than those sleeping in the lightest rooms. Research proves that hormones that aid in metabolism are affected in humans exposed to light at night. Night lights reduce those hormones in mice and, coupled with a disruption in the mice’s internal clocks, could have been responsible for their weight gain.

Say yes to peppermint

Certain scents can make your mouth water, like mum’s halwa. Others can actually suppress your appetite. A study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint (pudina) every two hours lost an average of 5 pounds a month! Banana, green apple, and vanilla had similar effects. Consider burning a minty candle until you head to bed to fill the room with slimming smells. If you don’t want to bother with blowing out candles before you turn down the covers, try adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your pillow or even better, add peppermint to your post-dinner green tea.

Think blue

There’s a reason why a bunch of junk food eateries all have the same red-and-yellow theme colours. Those tones actually send us subliminal messages that incite hunger. Does the same trick work at home? An experiment published in the interior-design magazine Contract presented partygoers with three identical venues painted different colours: red, yellow and blue. Participants reported the red and yellow rooms to be equally appetising (and ate the most in the yellow room), but found the food in the blue room only half as appealing. Interesting right?

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2016.

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