Want to lose body fat? Sleep better – here’s how in 8 easy steps

Sleep is one of the essential components of fat loss- yet most of us are not having enough. 

It’s so easy to become entangled in sleep deprivation. Your child may be sick one night; then, for another couple of nights, you’re caught up in a work deadline. Days pass, and you realise just how tired you are – yet still, find it hard to unwind.


A study from the University of Chicago found that sleep-deprived dieters who averaged only 5 hours sleep per night lost significantly less body fat than those who clocked in with 8.5 hours of sleep. The groups lost roughly the same amount of weight, but those who had 8 hours of sleep lost more body fat. The short sleep group had most of that lost weight come from muscle wastage.


That’s pretty scary when you think of it. If you are constantly sleep-deprived day in day out, not only will you find it very hard to lose body fat, but you are risking muscle wastage as well! That’s not an ideal situation – especially if you are over 30. It’s so much easier to lose muscle mass as you age, which is why many older individuals struggle with fat accumulation.


It makes a lot of sense then that if you find it challenging to lose body fat, fixing your sleep situation will be as beneficial to you as making dietary changes. So here are a few pointers to get you going.

 One: Avoid caffeine after lunchtime. For many people, caffeine can keep you wired and negatively impact your ability to unwind and eventually fall asleep. On the other hand, if you love the taste of coffee, drink the decaffeinated variety. Two: Pick your regular bedtime and stick to it. It’s crucial to follow this through till the weekend. Getting into a regular sleep schedule will help you adapt to your circadian rhythm. Three: Try to eliminate light in your bedroom. Light will impact the release of the sleep hormone melatonin and the cortisol awakening response in the morning. Turn your phone over, so you don’t see the light (if you use it as an alarm in the morning.) Four: Keep your room cool. Try not to overheat your room too much before bedtime- as it can lead to constant wakefulness during the night. Five: Stop drinking water by 7 pm. Drinking too much water in the evening will leave you with a constant need to visit the bathroom. That in itself will disturb your sleep pattern. Six: Eat your carbs at dinner time. Higher carb foods are great for helping your body relax, lowering cortisol. Carbs also activate serotonin which allows you to begin falling asleep. Seven: Use magnesium before bed. Magnesium works like magic for most people. It contains a calming mineral that helps the body metabolise cortisol and set you up for a good nights rest. Just don’t get in your car to drive after you’ve had this supplement! Eight: Stop snacking and eating heavy meals at night. Eating heavy meals or pretty large meals can stop us from having a restful sleep. If you can, eat dinner earlier, or eat less so that you will not overload your digestive system and send your body into a cortisol overdrive. Although it’s not realistic to have a beautiful nights sleep daily, it’s something to aim for. The priority to sleep is often thought of as a luxury for most people, especially amongst women who have a baby. However, if we try to implement the steps above, we can start to train our bodies to experience sleep more readily and frequently. Then, our health will begin to flourish, and fat loss attempts will become a whole lot easier

Leave a Reply