Your bedroom. It’s your own personal refuge at the end of a long, hectic day. It’s the most private area of your home; after all, guests use the bathroom, gather in the kitchen, and visit in the living room, but few guests will wander into your bedroom. It’s the place where you fall blissfully into your comfortable bed at night to dream away the hours peacefully, and then awaken refreshed and ready for a new day.
And believe it or not, it’s also just as important as the gym when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.
It’s not just the kitchen that’s out to get you when it comes to putting on the pounds; many studies have concluded that the bedroom — or more specifically, the bedroom’s major purpose: sleep – plays a significant role in weight gain, appetite control and health eating. You already know that a lack of good-quality sleep is linked to several health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Wrinkled, dull skin
- Lowered immune system function
- Reduced sex drive
But now there’s a new health buster to add to the list — routinely sleeping five hours or less each night can make you fat. And it doesn’t have to be years of insufficient sleep, either; even a few nights spent burning the candle at both ends is enough to skewer your diet goals. A study done at the University of Colorado found that test subjects who slept only five hours per night for one week gained an average of two pounds during that time.
That means a rough week spent working overtime, a sick toddler, or too many nights spent binge-watching your favorite show might show up on the bathroom scale.
When You’re Tired, You Snack
A foggy brain is a brain in search of quick energy, and also prone to making poor food choices. That explains why you find yourself standing in front of the office vending machine, money in hand, every afternoon when the “three o’clock slump” strikes, or even worse, pulling that carton of Ben and Jerry’s – the one you swore was for the kids – out of the freezer shortly before bedtime.
And worst of all, when you are exhausted and barely able to drag yourself out of bed because your wakeup time is far too close to your bedtime, it’s nearly impossible to pass by those luscious donuts in the lunchroom, or resist the lure of pulling through Starbucks for a Venti Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino. The inevitable result? Pants that are too tight, and no, it’s not because they shrunk in the wash. In the University of Colorado study, the participants particularly craved carbs, and lots of them. Sound familiar? Then get to bed early tonight.
It’s a Hormone Thing
Your desire to eat is far more complicated than, “Mmm, chocolate cake and ice cream sound pretty good right now.” In fact, an intricate dance of hormones helps keep your appetite under control, and the two most important of those hunger hormones are ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin hangs out in your stomach, reporting on food intake to your brain. It’s a hungry hormone; when your stomach is empty, ghrelin levels rise drastically, telling your brain, “Hey, we need some food in here!” In response, you feel a desire to eat. Leptin is produced by your fat cells, and along with other food-related functions, it’s in charge of letting your brain know that you’re full.
That sends the signal that it’s time to set your fork down.
When you’re well-rested, these two hormones are better able to maintain balance, and you are far likelier to make wise food choices. Your willpower and clear thinking are strong, and it’s far easier to resist the siren call of, “Just one more slice of pizza.”
When your body is sleep-starved, however, ghrelin and leptin lose control, and instead of smart eating, you feel intense cravings for high-carb, high calorie foods. In fact, one study reviewed in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that test subjects who slept only four hours per night for two nights in a row had 28% higher levels of ghrelin and 18% lower levels of leptin than test subjects who slept for ten hours, leading to a fierce craving for high-calorie foods and a lowered ability to stop eating when full.
Now, you obviously don’t live in a research laboratory, but this study, along with a multitude of others, are in agreement: if you aren’t serious about the importance of sleep, it’s likely to show up around your waistline.
Obviously, there’s more to weight gain, and weight loss, than a good night’s sleep. After all, even if you log ten hours of slumber a night, but then spend your waking hours sitting on the couch eating potato chips, you’re going to be on the wrong side of the healthy-weight chart. But the evidence is clear; sleeping the full amount of hours your body needs for optimal function – that’s seven to nine hours every night for most adults – is a powerful tool in your weight-loss arsenal, as well as crucial for your overall health, mental well-being and appearance. So do yourself a favor; hit the hay early tonight.
Can You Lose Weight by Exercising in Your Bedroom?
Although a gym membership has many benefits — including use of free weights and workout equipment — it’s possible to get a solid workout without one. Exercising in your bedroom does have its limitations. You cannot run long distances, and exercising in the same, small space might become tedious. However, your bedroom can serve as an exercise space that allows you to complete various exercise techniques without stepping foot outdoors. Exercises include calisthenics, weight-lifting and even cardiovascular work. These exercises burn calories. To lose weight, you’ll need to burn more calories than you consume.
Calisthenics can be completed anywhere because they don’t require much space and rarely require the use of additional objects. Calisthenics include pushups, sit-ups, squats, jumping jacks and lunges. You can also make use of objects in your bedroom to maximize your calisthenic workout. For example, use a chair or bed to prop your feet up and assume a pushup position with your hands on the floor and face looking at the ground. Hold this plank position to strengthen your core muscles, or do actual pushups to target your arms and chest. Calisthenics will increase your endurance, build and maintain muscle, and burn calories. Do 10 to 15 minutes worth before or after aerobic exercises.
To expedite your weight-loss journey, add weight training to your workout regimen. By building muscle all over your body, you’ll be able to exert more energy throughout the day and during your cardiovascular exercises. Weight training also makes your body burn extra calories to mend torn muscles — even when you aren’t working out. To weight train in your bedroom, use either dumbbells or various items already in your home, including soup cans, filled milk jugs or books. For example, you can hold a soup can in your right hand. Let your arm hang by your side. Then, without moving your upper arm, bend your elbow to bring the soup can toward your shoulder. These soup-can biceps curls strengthen your biceps in your upper arm.
Cardiovascular exercises should be done daily. In addition to burning calories and helping you lose weight, they keep your heart and body healthy. Though it’s more difficult to do cardiovascular activity in your bedroom because of limited space, it can be done. Bedroom appropriate cardiovascular activities include running or jogging in place, dancing and step aerobics. If you have a TV or computer in your bedroom, you can also watch fitness videos and follow along with them.
It doesn’t matter how you burn your calories when it comes to weight loss. The only factor that does matter is that you do burn calories and that you burn more of them than you consume throughout the day. To lose one pound, you need to burn 3500 calories more than you consume. For best results, work out for at least 30 minutes daily and adjust your diet so it includes nutritious, filling and high-protein foods that sustain you all day long.
WHAT EXERCISES CAN I DO IN MY ROOM TO LOSE WEIGHT & TONE MUSCLES?
If you can’t afford a gym membership or just don’t like going to a gym, you can still reach your fitness goals. You can lose weight and tone your muscle in the privacy of your bedroom using your own body weight and a few dumbbells. Circuit training and cardio training will help you burn calories and can be done anywhere.
Blast calories with aerobic training.The Health Status website explains that a 150-lb. person doing jumping jacks for 10 minutes burns 92 calories; jumping rope for 10 minutes burns 114 calories. To burn the most amount of calories, interval train in your room. Work at a high intensity for 30 seconds and a lower intensity for one minute. For example, start your workout with 10 minutes of jump rope, working hard for 30 seconds, followed by a lighter intensity for one minute. Then complete a circuit of high knees, butt kicks, jumping jacks and jump squats. Complete each exercise for a total of 90 seconds then proceed to the next exercise, repeat the circuit three times.
Toning At Home
Body-weight exercises require you to use no additional weight; use your body as resistance. These moves help tone your muscles by target training and also help you melt fat. Working with resistance allows you to build muscle and alter your body composition. Warm up by jumping rope for 10 minutes to move the body and begin to sweat. Then complete reverse lunges, squats, pushups, dips, planks and jump squats to target your upper and lower body without leaving your room.
Home Circuit Training
Circuit training helps to build strength and stamina, according to sports coach Brian Mac. Circuit training requires you to perform several different exercises for a specified number of repetitions or for a set time before moving from exercise to exercise with no break. Once a full circuit is complete you rest and then complete the circuit again, three to five times. Create a circuit of jumping jacks, squats, pushups, high knees, situps, bicep curls, lunges and military presses, completing each exercise for 30 seconds.
Stretch before and after you exercise to prevent injuries. Be mindful of your diet. Choosing to eat healthy foods will promote a faster weight loss and help you feel more energized during your workout. Eat lean meats, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Ditch empty calories like fast foods, alcohol and soda.
30 Things to Before Bed to Lose Weight in Just 30 Minutes
What’s the best place in the world to lose weight? The gym! say the muscle-bound personal trainers, raising their hands (but not really getting that far because their deltoids get in the way).
The (huff!) track (puff!) say the distance runners, cyclists, triathletes, and other types trucking along with sweat in their eyes and numbers stuck on their chests.
The kitchen! say the nutritionists, dieticians, and organic-produce purveyors.
But they’re all wrong. Because real, successful, sustainable weight loss comes from achieving excellence in a completely unexpected realm: the bedroom.
No, you can’t lovemake your way to being lean. But you can absolutely sleep your way to a slimmer you. In fact, no matter how many pounds you press, how many miles you log, how much kale you crunch, it won’t get you anywhere near your weight loss goals unless you’re also getting enough quality sleep. A recent study found that sub-par sleep could undermine weight loss by as much as 55 percent! The good news is just a few simple tweaks to your p.m. routine can mean serious weight loss success. (Psst! Looking for even more ways to snooze your way slim? Don’t miss our special report 20 Surprising Ways to Lose Weight In Your Sleep!)
1 GIVE SNOOZE ITS DUE
To turn sleep into prime weight loss time, realize how important a good night’s sleep is for optimizing and regulating all your bodily functions, including how you use and store caloric energy. The hormones at play here are 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. People who get more sleep have reduced ghrelin and increased leptin levels, which helps to control their appetites throughout the day. That was the finding of research conducted at the University of Wisconsin. Another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that overweight people, on average, got 16 minutes less sleep per day than people of regular weight. Although that might not sound like a big difference, those minutes—like your belly fat—accumulate over time.
2 HAVE A CUP OF TEA
Wind down with a cup of rooibos tea, and burn belly fat while you do it! Naturally decaffeinated, rooibos tea is made from the leaves of the “red bush” plant, grown exclusively in South Africa. What makes rooibos tea particularly good for your belly is a unique and powerful flavonoid called Aspalathin. Research shows this compound can reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage. To learn more about the wonders of tea, and get started on a 7-day plan that will melt fat fast, buy the The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse now! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week!
3 TRIP YOUR SLEEP SWITCH
Don’t count sheep, eat lamb! (Or better yet, a bit of turkey.) Tryptophan, an amino acid found in most meats, has demonstrated powerful sleep-inducing effects. A recent study among insomniacs found that just 1/4 gram—about what you’ll find in a skinless chicken drumstick or three ounces of lean turkey meat—was enough to significantly increase hours of deep sleep. And that can translate into an easy slim-down. Researchers from the University of Colorado found that dieters consumed 6 percent 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 suggests seven to eight hours of sleep for most adults. So add these meats to your list of proteins that will help you lose weight.
4 EAT COTTAGE CHEESE
Completely avoiding food before bedtime can actually be bad for your weight loss goals. First, going to bed with a rumbling tummy makes falling asleep difficult. Second, people who wake up feeling hungry are far more likely to pig out on a big breakfast. Have a little cottage cheese before bed. Not only is it rich in casein protein, but it also contains the amino acid tryptophan.
5 CREATE A ROUTINE
By doing the same thing every night, for at least an hour before bedtime, you’re actually programming sleep triggers. These triggers could include writing in your sleep diary, having a cottage cheese snack or indeed any other items from this list. Over time, your brain will begin to associate those things with bedtime and fast track you into fat-burning slumber.
6 OBSERVE STRICT KITCHEN HOURS
Nighttime fasting—a.k.a. closing the kitchen early—may help you lose more weight, even if you eat more food throughout the day, according to a study in the journal Cell Metabolism. Researchers put groups of mice on a high-fat, high-calorie diet for 100 days. Half of them were allowed to nibble throughout the night and day on a healthy, controlled diet, while the others only had access to food for eight hours, but could eat whatever they wanted. The result of the 16-hour food ban? The fasting mice stayed lean, while the mice who noshed ‘round the clock became obese—even though both groups consumed the same amount of calories! Push back breakfast until 10 am to slim down and reset your body with our Ultimate One-Day Detox.
7 DO A LITTLE RESISTANCE TRAINING
Pre-sleep resistance training can really help to optimize the weight you loss during sleep. 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. If you usually work out first thing in the morning, your sleepytime weight loss won’t be impacted by that spike in metabolism. Go big, go home, then get into bed.
There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at the clock all night and cursing yourself for not being able to drift off at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., and again, at 3 a.m. It certainly doesn’t help things. Take comfort in the fact that that merely relaxing your mind and body will help rejuvenate you in lieu of honest-to-goodness sleep. Once you’re not so excited about your inability to fall asleep, it’ll come more naturally. For more ways to chillax, read up on these 10 Ways to Relax so Healthy Eating Works.
9 FOLLOW THE 20-MINUTE RULE
If you’re not getting anywhere after chilling out for 20 minutes, get out of bed, leave the bedroom and do something quiet and unstimulating. Try reading a book, or flipping through a catalog.
10 SHAKE THINGS UP
Having a protein shake before hitting the sack may boost your metabolism, according to one 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 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 digesting it.
11 DO SOME BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES
Maybe the rigamarole 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 bed. According to Combat the Fat author Jeff Anderson, bodyweight exercises target muscle in a unique way due to the effect of fighting gravity. Examples of these exercises include push-ups, pull-ups, dips and bodyweight squats.
12 MAKE A TO-DO LIST
Thoughts of a busy day whizzing around your head won’t help you get in the right condition for a relaxing 8-hour sleep shift. Try writing down everything you need to do the next day. It can make your life seem more manageable.
13 FIT IN LATE CARDIO
Examples of cardio include walking around the neighborhood, walking or running up and down the stairs, jogging and/or riding an exercise bike. Adding activities like these to your pre-bed routine can help you to burn belly fat. Bonus points if you can do a little resistance training immediately before your late cardio session. Studies show that cardio is more effective if you do it immediately after weightlifting or bodyweight exercises.
14 LET THE COLD AIR IN
A striking new study published in the journal Diabetes suggests that simply blasting the air conditioner or turning down the heat in winter may help us attack belly fat while we sleep. Colder temperatures subtly enhance the effectiveness of our stores of brown fat—fat keeps you warm by helping you burn through the fat stored in your belly. Participants spent a few weeks sleeping in bedrooms with varying temperatures: a neutral 75 degrees, a cool 66 degrees, and a balmy 81 degrees. After four weeks of sleeping at 66 degrees, the subjects had almost doubled their volumes of brown fat. (And yes, that means they lost belly fat.)
15 TAKE A BATH OR SHOWER
A UCLA study of some of the world’s last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes noted that temperature drops were an important sleep cue for our Paleolithic forebears. We no longer sleep under the stars that much, but you but you can recreate a sunset-like temperature drop by taking a hot bath or shower. The dip might make your pound-shedding shuteye deeper and make you fall asleep faster.
16 MAKE A MINT
Certain scents can make your mouth water, and others can actually suppress your appetite. One study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint 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. A small cup of peppermint tea (which just so happens to be one of these 21 Best Teas for Weight Loss) is another option worth trying.
According to Combat the Fat author Jeff Anderson, new research suggests that you may be able to spot reduce body fat from your abdomen. Before hitting the sheets do a giant set of crunches, reverse crunches, and side jackknifes. Then go to sleep safe in the knowledge that you’ve given your body a little help in shifting that tire while you’re zonked out.
18 THROW OUT THE NIGHT LIGHT
Exposure to light at night doesn’t just interrupt your chances of a great 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 percent less likely to be obese than those sleeping in the lightest rooms.
19 EAT SOME CARBS
Ready for some controversy? Eating carbs before bed may not be a bad idea if you want to lose some weight! Seventy-eight obese members of the Israeli Police Force took part in a 6-month randomized clinical trial. The experimental group was prescribed a low-calorie diet (20% protein, 30–35% fat, 45–50% carbohydrates, 1,300–1,500 kcal) that provided carbohydrates mostly at dinner. The control group consumed a similar diet, except that carbohydrate intake was spread throughout the day. After six months, the group eating most of their carbs at night lost slightly more weight and body fat and experienced greater reductions in waist circumference. Want to give it a try? Choose from these 25 Best Carbs That Will Uncover Your Abs!
20 GAZE AT SOMETHING BLUE
There’s a reason why McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s all have the same red-and-yellow theme colors. Those tones supposedly send us subliminal messages that help make us hungry. Does the same trick work at home? An experiment published in the interior-design magazine Contract presented partygoers with three identical venues painted different colors: red, yellow, and blue. Participants reported the red and yellow rooms to be equally appetizing (and ate the most in the yellow room) but found the food in the blue room only half as appealing. For more fast food secrets, don’t miss these 20 Things You Didn’t Know About Fast Food.
21 STRIKE A POSE
By the time you’ve had your time on this mortal coil, you’ll have spent up to 30 years asleep. To get the most out of that investment, you’d better figure out which sleeping posture you find most restorative, then build your bed around it. You can do that by buying the right mattress and pillow to mitigate against any areas of discomfort. If you sleep on your side, putting a pillow between your legs will minimize twisting strain on your lower back, while hip pain can be lessened by using a mattress topper to help soften and contour your body.
22 HIDE THE CELL & IPAD
Research in the Zero Belly Diet suggests that the more electronics we bring into the bedroom, the fatter we get—especially among children. A study in the Pediatric Obesity journal found that kids who bask in the nighttime glow of a TV or computer don’t get enough rest and suffer from poor lifestyle habits. Researchers found that students with access to one electronic device were 1.47 times as likely to be overweight as kids with no devices in the bedroom. That increased to 2.57 times for kids with three devices. Even if you’re a full-grown adult, it’s best to leave your iPad in the living room.
23 TURN DOWN THE WHAT?
Use an app like F.lux to reduce the blue light emitting from your computer and smartphone. It works by eliminating eye strain from the harsh light that inhibits melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating sleep rhythms. Some newer iPhone and iPads have a similar built-in feature called Night Shift.
24 WEAR SHADES
If you simply have to watch TV late at night and don’t mind looking a little silly, try wearing BluBlocker sunglasses. It’s like an analog way to get the benefits of the app mentioned above.
25 HAVE SEX OR MASTURBATE
The relaxation and release that solo or partnered sexual release can provide is like nature’s Xanax. Could there be amore entertaining way to work toward your weight-loss goals than building in a little loving before lights-out?
RELATED: 22 Foods Sex Experts Say to Eat
26 START A SLEEP DIARY
Do you really have an accurate read on how much sleep you are or aren’t getting? It’s always best to work from data, even if you’re the one logging the quality and duration of your sleep. Simply list each complete hour you were asleep in bed, and each partial hour (including naps). Then make a note of the events that may have influenced your sleep. Did you exercise that day? Drink a lot of coffee? After two weeks, read through the whole thing, looking for patterns. The results may surprise you—and help you with your weight loss goals.
27 EAT PEPPER
Scientific studies have shown that one of the most effective ways to burn fat is to eat peppers. Your body continues to burn fat while you sleep as a direct result of including them with your meals. If it works with your palate, include a little with your cottage cheese snack. Pepper is just one of the Best Spices for Weight Loss!
28 BREATHE THROUGH YOUR NOSE
Why? Well, first it will prevent snoring. That will not only improve your sleep but also the sleep of anybody else in earshot. Secondly, it provides more oxygenation, so you can take those deep breaths that help to relax the body. Use Breathe Right strips if you’re stuffy.
29 UNDERSTAND YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM TYPE
Pay attention to the times you feel and perform at your best, when you naturally wake without an alarm clock, and when you start to feel sleepy in the evenings. Add this info to your sleep diary. This information will tell you about your “chronotype” which will allow you to set healthy sleep goals that work with your natural rhythms. A free online assessment at the Center for Environmental Therapeutics can help you find your type, and provide related advice.
30 PLAN SMALL, STEADY MEALS
Eating small, nutrient-dense meals frequently throughout the day serves to keep your metabolism
ticking, and will ensure your body continues burning fat throughout the night. Furthermore, eating frequently will ensure your appetite is kept in check, which will reduce any cravings you have when you wake.