Losing weight in a dream: truth or myth?
Losing extra pounds without wasting time on sports, limiting yourself in nutrition – isn’t this the cherished dream of everyone who watches their figure? But it turns out that you can lose weight in your sleep. And is it so?
It is very difficult to achieve the desired body proportions, especially for those inclined to be overweight. Sports, dietary restrictions – what could be easier? But sticking to these rules day in and day out is an almost impossible task for many. It would be great if those extra pounds disappeared when we slept. According to some experts, losing weight in a dream is quite real.
Losing weight in a dream is the usual work of the body, nothing extraordinary.
Any organism consumes energy constantly, including during sleep when many natural processes occur: metabolism, heartbeat, and pressure are normalized, and damaged tissues are restored. If a person eats at night, energy is also spent on the digestion of food.
But how many calories can you burn during a night’s sleep? The amount of energy consumed depends on several factors: the duration of sleep, the duration, quality of its phases, the characteristics of metabolism, etc.
On average, a person weighing 60-70 kg burns about 40 calories per hour of night sleep.
Studies have found that the most energy is spent during REM sleep – the last of four when a sleeping person’s eyeballs move rapidly. Thus, losing weight in a dream is possible, but only under one condition – sleep must be full: without interruptions and lack of sleep. Why is it so important?
Sleep quality is the basis of the effect.
A lifestyle with activity after midnight, work at night, stress, and eating before bed – as a result, sleep becomes intermittent, and the duration of the phases is not respected, affecting the whole organism’s functioning. Firstly, hormone production is disrupted, among the many functions of appetite regulation and weight normalization. For example:
- Somatotropin is the so-called “growth hormone” produced by the pituitary gland, which directly or indirectly affects the work of other endocrine glands, including the pancreas, which synthesizes insulin. Among the properties of somatotropin are the reduction of body fat, the formation of muscle tissue, the improvement of metabolism, and the control of the predominance of muscle tissue over adipose tissue. But about 2/3 of the amount of the hormone is produced during sleep, the peak occurs between 23:00-1:00. By the way, somatotropin is paired with melatonin, an equally important hormone.
- Melatonin is called the “sleep hormone.” It synchronizes the work of the human body with natural biorhythms. Thanks to him, a person not only can fall asleep on time without waiting for an attack of hunger at a later time but the mechanism for processing fat cells is also launched. But melatonin is produced after 22:00, reaching its maximum concentration at midnight.
- Ghrelin is a peptide hormone called the “hunger” hormone; acting at the level of the hypothalamus, it participates in the multi-stage process of regulating energy metabolism and regulates the accumulation of adipose tissue. It is ghrelin that influences appetite. Plasma ghrelin levels have been observed to be lower in overweight people than in non-obese people.
- Leptin is a satiety hormone produced by fat cells. With constant sleep deprivation, hormone production decreases by 20%. Even a lack of sleep for three days reduces leptin levels by 10%. The result is an increase in hunger, especially before bedtime, and a slowed metabolism. Combined with a high-calorie diet and inactivity, a lack of leptin quickly leads to body fat.
- Serotonin is responsible for a good mood. The production peak falls in the morning hours, and with insufficient sleep, the body does not have time to synthesize the “joy” hormone. Therefore, a person wakes up broken and in a bad mood, and the temptation to improve it with the help of something tasty increases.
- Cortisol is the “stress” hormone; consumed during the day, it returns to normal at night. But with a lack of sleep, its production is disrupted. Among the main features of cortisol is the ability to influence the production of other hormones in the body: the synthesis of those hormones that affect the possibility of losing weight depends on its level: serotonin, somatotropin, and melatonin.
- Have you noticed that if you don’t go to bed on time, you will certainly have the desire to eat something tasty? But why is junk food so attractive in the evening hours? It’s all about the so-called “hormone of pleasure” – dopamine, the sensitivity to which a person increases in the evening, although it is produced throughout the day. Since everything is interconnected in the body, if the production of other hormones is disrupted, there is a shortage of “pleasures” at the hormonal level. As a result, by the end of the day, there is a desire for entertainment, a surge of activity, and cravings for sweets. As a result, the sleep pattern is disturbed, and there are problems with sleep, lack of sleep, and hormonal levels failure. The result is weight gain.
The synthesis of hormones in the human body can be compared to the domino principle: one overturned part causes the whole chain to fall. A change in the concentration of one hormone triggers a whole reaction in the body. To provoke this process is extremely simple: it is enough not to go to bed on time. If you constantly neglect the quality of sleep, a little time will pass, and an extra couple of kilograms will become noticeable.
How to lose weight in a dream
Since losing weight during a night’s rest is a reality, why not limit yourself to this, ignoring the nutrition and physical activity recommendations? Even though losing weight in a dream is real, just falling asleep on time and waking up slim will not work. There are a few more tips to follow:
- The room can affect the quality and duration of sleep. It is better to sleep when the lights are off; luminous devices, dim light sources, and working computers negatively affect the quality of sleep (melatonin production in particular). Also, oxygen is needed to recover the body fully, so it is better to ventilate the room before bed.
- To saturate the body with oxygen, it is good to take a walk before going to bed; a walk – short and unhurried – also has a calming effect on the nervous system, which is especially important in stressful situations.
- To avoid body fat, dinner should be before bed for 3 hours. Food should be easily digestible. It is important to give up sweets: simple carbohydrates contribute to the release of insulin, which prevents the production of somatotropin. The best option is lean protein foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, soy, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, etc. By the way, food from these products benefits muscle mass without “feeding” fat cells.
- Restrictions apply to fluid intake in the evening; drinking large amounts immediately before bedtime will lead to frequent awakenings in the middle of the night, affecting sleep quality. In addition, it is better to prefer more healthy drinks: for example, green tea, even in a small amount, promotes metabolism, and blueberry tea reduces sugar levels at night.
Or, to lose weight, it is better to refuse dinner altogether. But after all, a person experiencing a feeling of hunger often cannot fall asleep quickly. The way out of the situation can be a protein shake: 150 ml 30-60 minutes before bedtime. It can also be a source of tryptophan – one of the essential amino acids in protein products. A unique feature of tryptophan is the ability to transform it into an element based on which melatonin and serotonin are synthesized in the body.
How much sleep do you need to lose weight?
In 2017, scientists from Korea conducted a large-scale study that analyzed data on the lifestyle of 17,000 respondents. Conclusions from the information received: more body fat in those who lack sleep, and it is more difficult for such people to lose weight. Scientists at the University of Chicago obtained similar data: people who slept less than 5.5 hours lost weight more slowly than those who slept at least 7 hours. Moreover, interesting data were published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: people who do not get enough sleep constantly consume 385 calories more with food than those who sleep at least 7-8 hours. By the way, it has been noticed: with a lack of sleep, a person prefers food with high-fat content.
And what will be the effect if, without sleeping during the week, you sleep off at the weekend? Although the results in weight loss in the studies turned out to be the same for everyone, those who followed the sleep schedule lost weight due to fat burning, and those who preferred to sleep on the weekend – due to the reduction in muscle mass. But what’s the problem if the result is still there? It turns out that a person will quickly gain weight with a loss of muscle mass but at the expense of adipose tissue.
Adhering to the above recommendations, one must mention the need for physical activity, at least minimal. Even a short walk will bring health benefits. By the way, physical activity can also serve as an excellent tool for minimizing the effects of stress, fraught with both the threat of hormonal imbalance and the habit of some people to “seize” stress. And if, in most cases, a person can’t avoid a stressful situation, then the physical activity will help to level the consequences of a stressful situation.
Thus, everyone can lose weight in a dream. It is enough to go to sleep on time, at least 7-8 hours a day, not forgetting about the correction of the diet. And then, the body will begin to fight excess body fat independently.