Are you sleeping away fat?


So you’ve sussed the workouts and the healthy eating for fatloss and now you’re wondering what on earth can sleep do to help you burn fat?

It’s all about hormones! Sleep has all the power to balance your hormones for the coming day. I can very often have long, busy days (don’t we all), and so sleep is essential to my health and energy. My clients and TARAnsformers very often ask me how I squeeze everything in but they also know I’m a huge believer in plenty of quality sleep as I very often say goodnight to them online at 9pm and go straight to bed. I love an early night!

The odd late night here or there won’t be a problem, but when it becomes a habit, that’s where you may experience problems. Here are a few reasons sleep should be more important to you that late night TV:

It affects your fat burning

The body needs long hours of uninterrupted sleep for hormonal balance. Every night your body goes through a process of hormonal changes to help repair and recharge your body. As you sleep your fat storing hormones are reduced. These are leptin, cortisol, insulin, and adrenaline. At the same time, glucagon, human growth hormone, testosterone, and other fat burning hormones increase their activity. This process takes time and 8-9 hours is your best bet to make the most of your fat burning potential.

It affects your appetite!

Appetite can be influenced by sleep. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation was not only associated with reductions in leptin (the appetite suppressant) during the day but also elevations in ghrelin (the appetite stimulant) resulting in increased hunger and appetite in participants. There are many other studies on circadian rhythm, sleep and hormone balance, and increased appetite in the sleep deprived.

So what can you do to improve how much you get?

I know it’s hard juggling a busy lifestyle. Working all day, school runs, cooking dinner, running children to various after school groups, coming home, doing your chores…you already feel exhausted and would love nothing more than a good nights uninterrupted sleep. But maybe there are a few things you could do to get as much as possible.

Switch the lights off and get to bed early

If you are exposed to light at night (such as artificial light, TV’s, smartphones & tablets) you may not be able to easily switch into relaxing sleep. Some people are more susceptible to this than others. You have to ask yourself what is more important? Do you want to burn fat and wake up feeling awesome or stay up watching TV & playing on the internet?

So once the children have gone to bed, try and wind down as soon as possible after too. (You can always watch something on catch up over the weekend)

To ensure your fat burning hormones are working, the time you go to bed is just as important as how long you sleep. Having as much sleep in darkness is best so sleeping from 12 to 8 won’t be as good as say from 10 – 6 because light influences your metabolism. Also, try to keep you room as dark as possible and remove any lights or LED clocks.

As you well know, if you get a good night sleep you are more likely to feel energetic, motivated and feel clearer for the day.

Recently, I even advised one of my clients to cancel his training sessions with me for the week in favour of some extra sleep and to have and extra hour in bed rather than setting the alarm to meet me. His stress levels were through the roof and it was time to prescribe him some ‘working in’ rather than ‘working out’.

So there you have it! If there was ever an excuse to cosy up early, do it because you want to burn more fat!!

Keep fit, fab & sweet dreaming!!

Tara x

Tara Hammett

Kelly Small - November 8, 2013

In that case I’m off to bed! Goodnight! zzz

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