5 Ways to Lose Weight While You Sleep

It may sound too good to be true, but you can hack your sleep habits to shed unwanted pounds. Start with these tips.

October 18, 2016
woman sleeping

Adapted from The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan

Hacking your sleep strategies and cycle to best suit your weight loss efforts can sound like a lofty goal. But it's not. 

More: 50 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight

In fact, the few hours before snooze time are the prime times to set your body up for weight loss. This is how you start. 

whole grain pasta
1. Substitute whole grains for white flour products

The additional fiber will improve your health and keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. 

More: 5 Ways to Sneak More Fiber Into Your Diet

chopped walnuts
2. Do not eat after 7:00 p.m. unless you eat a light bedtime snack

If you must have a bedtime snack, choose something light like low-fat yogurt with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts or granola, a small bowl of oatmeal made with fat-free milk, or a piece of whole grain toast with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter.

low fat yogurt
3. Choose nighttime snacks that contain complex carbohydrates, a limited amount of protein, and calcium

Dairy products are great sleep inducers because the brain can use their calcium and tryptophan to manufacture melatonin. Adding carbohydrates to dairy or protein calms us down with a serotonin buzz. However, make sure you don't consume too much protein close to bedtime. Otherwise, you might get too much energy from the amino acid tyrosine, which perks you up. Try to keep your bedtime snack under 200 calories, and avoid foods that might induce heartburn, like spicy or garlicky foods.

More: 6 Things You Should Never Do Before Bed

chicken drumsticks
4. Avoid eating high-protein meals too close to bedtime

Eating a meal high in carbohydrates stimulates the release of insulin, which helps clear the bloodstream of amino acids that compete with the amino acid tryptophan. This allows more of that natural sleep-inducing amino acid to enter the brain and be used to manufacture sleep-inducing substances such as serotonin and melatonin. Remember, eating a high-protein meal without any accompanying carbohydrates may keep you wide awake from the tyrosine, which perks up the brain.

citrus chocolate
5. Avoid eating sleep busters too close to bedtime

This includes spicy foods, tomato sauce, carbonated drinks, citrus, chocolate, fatty and fried foods, garlic and onions, mint, and anything with caffeine as an ingredient.

More: How to Become a Morning Person

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