If you have hit a weight-loss plateau even after recommitting to regular exercise and a healthy diet in 2021, the key to tipping the scales in the right direction could lie in your bedtime habits. While you still need to get at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity and eat nutritious foods to drop pounds, several bedtime hacks could help burn extra calories while you sleep.
According to a recent MyFitnessPal blog post, the average 150-pound person burns about 440 calories during a 7-hour night’s sleep. But there are a few hacks that research suggests could help dial up the calorie and fat-burning that continues while we sleep.
Creating a bedtime routine that includes winding down with a cup of tea may also contribute to fat-burning throughout the night. According to a Japanese study, published in the journal Nutrients, the type of caffeine in oolong tea may boost the breakdown of fat while sleeping. Research participants said that despite the caffeine in oolong tea, they didn’t experience trouble falling asleep. A mid to late afternoon cup of oolong may be worth considering to give your weight loss efforts a little extra help.
Consuming enough protein is also important to build muscle mass which helps the body burn calories more efficiently. A protein shake in the evening may help the body burn fat and shed extra weight – but stay away from any drinks with added sugar or too much fiber that could cause digestive problems. Casein from cow’s milk or pea protein is more easily digested and absorbed by the body at night. Research suggests that ingesting protein before sleep could help reduce muscle mass loss in hospitalized older adults, and in combination with exercise, prevent a loss of physical function and independent living.
Keeping the bedroom cool (and dark) can improve the quality of sleep and studies have also found that cool sleeping temperature helps stimulate metabolic activity by increasing brown fat. A good sleep schedule, spending time outdoors during the day in natural sunlight, and limiting daytime napping can also help boost the quality of sleep. A good sleep/wake cycle has been associated with maintaining a healthy weight. Try some or all of these bedtime hacks and see if it makes a difference that results in better sleep.