How to Burn Belly Fat During Sleep
Burning Belly Fat While You Sleep
Hormones have much more of an influence on our body composition than we realise, and a decline in the sleep hormone has been associated with increased belly fat. In this article, we discover how having low levels of this hormone contributes to the growth of your waistline and tips on how to burn belly fat during sleep through supplementation.
The sleep hormone is one which we all have access to on a daily basis that signals to us that it is time to rest and regenerate. Secreted by the pineal gland, it is the hormone that regulates our circadian sleep wake cycle.
Much like how the sun rises in the morning, so too do we humans, find ourselves waking up to a brand new day. The reverse is also true, whereby as the sun sets, our biological clock communicates that we too must set things aside, and get sleep in preparation for the day that follows.
Belly fat or visceral fat is the dangerous fat that gets stored within the abdominal region. Not to be confused with the pinchable subcutaneous fat, visceral fat blankets vital organs and becomes a significant saboteur to the function of the endocrine system.
Belly fat is not reserved for the obese. There are those of a “normal weight” who may also have excess belly fat. Regardless, there is a correlation between low levels of this sleep hormone and increased belly fat storage.
Low levels of sleep hormone can be caused by:
1. Stimulant Use or Use of Certain Medications
You may not get the deep and regenerative sleep you need if you use stimulants. Also, there are medications that have the potential to prevent deep sleep. There is a fine line, when opting to take a drug or stimulant to improve productivity. If sleep is disrupted habitually, the brain and its overall receptiveness may be damaged permanently. Balance is the key to the optimisation of health.
2. Chronic Stress and Anxiety
Increased stress influences cortisol levels to be raised, which in turn contributes to the decline in ones sleep hormone.
The sleep hormone and its levels are known to be highest at night, as the body gets ready for relaxation and regenerative sleep. You must be conscious of the fact that in order to gain the benefit from this hormones secretion you should not do anything that will elevate the hormone cortisol.
The following activities release cortisol which prevents fat burning during sleep:
- Eating meals or skipping meals
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Undergoing emotional stress
- Exposure to oxidative and chemical stress
- Certain medications
- Exposure to toxins
- GI inflammation (leaky gut)
- Liver dysfunction
- Physical stress/injury
3. Declining levels of the sleep hormone through the ageing process
Sleep hormone levels are at their highest at puberty. They significantly decrease as one ages. This is the reason why the elderly find it difficult to get to sleep and to obtain a quality sleep.
4. Alcohol use as a sedative for sleep
People often unknowingly indulge in a drink at night referring to it as a “nightcap”. The objective of the late night drink is to set the stage for sleep, but more often than not, the goal of restful sleep is not met using this strategy. When more than one drink is consumed, alcohol is said to prevent the release of growth hormone. Drinking has been known to inhibit 75% of growth hormone’s release.
How the metabolic “Circadian Rhythm” helps you burn fat while sleeping:
- Meals consumed in the morning at 8am will not be processed the same way as having the identical meal at 8pm.
- The sleep hormone is a powerful messenger that switches our metabolic function from active to that of rest. The darkness is what triggers its secretion. Light, regardless if it is natural or artificial, has the ability to block this hormones secretion.
- The illumination from blue light or other light at night has the ability to block the transition our bodies are supposed to take into the fasting state. Instead, the calorie acquisition and storage continues. This significantly disconnects us from natures clock and causes much of the struggle we have with weight gain.
- The sleep hormone modulates the action of several key metabolic hormones such as ghrelin, leptin and insulin. Known to orchestrate appetite, satiety, calorie uptake and fat storage, melatonin also has been shown to increase levels of activity, core body temperature and increases one’s energy expenditure. Scientists are of the mind that this increased use of energy is due to brown fat activation.
- In animal subjects, researchers have removed their pineal gland, which is the location of the sleep hormones production. As a result, the animals become overweight. With the timed administration of this hormone these animals were shown with a reversal of weight gain.
- Other studies showed middle-aged animals with abdominal obesity were given sleep hormone and observations seen include a decreased overall weight, along with a reduction in visceral fat.
- Walecka-Kapica, E., Klupińska, G., Chojnacki, J., Tomaszewska-Warda, K., Błońska, A., & Chojnacki, C. (2014). The effect of melatonin supplementation on the quality of sleep and weight status in postmenopausal women. Przeglad menopauzalny = Menopause review, 13(6), 334-8.
- Gumersindo Fernández Vázquez et al. Melatonin increases brown adipose tissue mass and function in Zücker diabetic fatty rats: implications for obesity control, Journal of Pineal Research (2018). DOI: 10.1111/jpi.12472
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