9 Ways You Can Literally Lose Weight In Your Sleep

Still dreaming about your weight-loss goals? Here’s how to sleep on them to shed extra pounds.

1/9 View as List

Fit protein in before bed


Prone to snacking before you snooze? Stock your fridge with protein shakes. Florida State University researchers found that men who had a shake with 30 grams of protein before bed experienced a higher resting energy expenditure (how much energy, or calories, the body burns at rest) the next morning morning compared to those who ate nothing before bed. An added bonus: Protein may also aid muscle repair overnight. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest. Need major weight-loss motivation? Here’s the secret weight-loss advice used by the folks on The Biggest Loser and other reality shows. Also, try these 35 ways that nutritionist sneak protein into their diet.

Sleep in complete darkness


If you live in an area that gets exposed to outdoor lights, consider blackout curtains or shades for your bedroom. Turn around any glowing clocks and keep the TV off. When you’re in complete darkness, your body produces the hormone melatonin, which not only makes you feel sleepy, but can aid in the production of calorie-burning brown fat, according to a study published in the Journal of Pineal Research. Try making these other bedroom changes to get a better night's sleep as well.

Turn down the thermostat


Sleeping in cooler temperatures could help you burn more calories overnight. People who slept in rooms cooled to 66 degrees burned more than 7 percent more calories while they dozed than sleepers in warmer rooms, reported a study in the journal Diabetes. A likely reason: Their bodies worked harder to raise core temperature to a stable 98.6 degrees, which torches calories. While 7 percent doesn’t sound like much, it could help you burn an extra 100 calories over 24 sleeping hours. When you’re watching the scale like a hawk, every bit helps.

Shut off all screens

iStock/Vasileios Economou

Before you get ready for bed, shut down all bedroom electronics. Manchester University researchers found that short-wavelength blue light, which is emitted tablets and smartphones, disrupts the body’s production of melatonin and, as a result, could disrupt metabolism. Set yourself a cut-off for before-bed television time, too. Singapore researchers linked long television screen time with higher levels of triglycerides (associated with metabolic syndrome and diabetes) and lower adiponectin (a protein involved in regulating glucose levels and fatty acid breakdown).

Give yourself a bedtime


You know you need to get enough sleep, but somehow a busy schedule—or a new TV season—always gets in the way of your beauty rest. Here’s motivation to hit the sack on time: By committing to a healthy number of snoozing hours per night (the Mayo Clinic recommends 7 to 8 hours), you burn more calories throughout the day—even when you’re inactive. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that well-rested people’s resting energy expenditure was 5 percent higher than that of their tired peers. They also burned 20 percent more calories after eating than sleep skimpers. Related research found that lack of sleep makes fat cells less sensitive to insulin, a metabolic change linked with obesity.

Cut out alcohol

During REM sleep is when our bodies can burn the most calories. If you drink alcohol close to your bedtime your body will work to metabolize the alcohol as you sleep, keeping you from achieving a state of REM. A glass of wine with dinner is OK, but you should stop drinking alcohol three hours before you go to bed. This is what happens to your body when you drink a glass of wine with dinner every night.

Eat small dinners

Similar to drinking alcohol, if you eat large meals or too close to when you go to bed, it will take your body a long time to metabolize it. When we are in a deep stage of sleep our brain emits a growth hormone. If you eat late a night the growth hormone will store the food still in your system as fat instead of fuel. Want to learn more about why eating late at night makes you fat? This is the complex science behind it.

Stay fit - but schedule workouts in the morning or afternoon

Regular exercise is everyones go-to method for losing weight. But you shouldn't be doing it less than four hours before bed. Exercise wakes our bodies up, making it hard to achieve a deep sleep and can lead to a restless night of tossing and turning.

Sleep naked

Kamil Macniak/Shutterstock
You might think this is a little strange, but sleeping naked actually has a lot of benefits. It burns calories because it keeps your body cool, which helps to increase the good kind of fat in your body that works to burn energy.

1/9 View as List

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.