If you find it impossible to stick to a diet, it might not be because you’re lacking in willpower. It may just be that you’re lacking in sleep:
New research in the Journal of Health Psychology suggests that disrupted sleep does more than make you cranky and tired — it makes you hungry, too. And that could be one factor contributing to excessive food intake in both adults and children.
Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that after a rough night’s sleep, the hormone that controls appetite is impaired, emotional stress is higher, and people crave calories in order to compensate for a lack of energy. In addition, people who sleep poorly have impaired impulse control, making that bag of Doritos in the vending machine sing even more seductively. And another study, uncovered by Zero Belly Diet author David Zinczenko while researching the book, found sub-par sleep could undermine weight loss by as much as 55 percent!
If sleep is an issue for you, don’t allow food to become your enemy. Certain foods — like those found in these superfoods — and food-related behaviors can actually help improve your sleep, and set you up for a healthier tomorrow.
Slimming Sleep Secret #8: Tryp your 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 ¼ 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 can translate into 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 one-pound less belly fat each month! The National Sleep Foundation suggests seven to eight hours of sleep for most adults. And to wind down while slimming down, brew yourself a pot of green tea, which is one of these indispensable 5 Best Teas for Weight Loss.
Slimming Sleep Secret #7: Set strict kitchen hours
Nighttime fasting—aka 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 number of calories!
Slimming Sleep Secret #6: 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. And reset your entire body—and mood—with this recommended and cleansing Ultimate One-Day Detox.
Slimming Sleep Secret #5: Let in the cold
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’re able to lose more belly fat—even at rest.)
Slimming Sleep Secret #4: 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. Our advice: Blend some vegan protein with fat-blasting fruits, using this mouth-watering Zero Belly recipe for The Best Weight-Loss Smoothie Ever.
Slimming Sleep Secret #3: Get night-time blues
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.
Slimming Sleep Secret #2: 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. That’s just one of the life-changing tips in our new special report, 14 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 14 Days.
Slimming Sleep Secret #1: Hide the cell & iPad
Research in 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. Leave your iPad in the living room.
STRIP AWAY BELLY FAT and lose up to 16 pounds in just 14 days—while eating the foods you love—with this free bonus chapter from the new Zero Belly Diet!
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