How to Lose Weight While You Sleep (Who Needs Diet & Exercise?)

By Mark / a couple of months ago

Want to sleep yourself slim? It’s possible if you learn how to optimize your natural sleep rhythms. Check out these tips and lose while you snooze.

The Simple Secrets of Sleeping Yourself Slim

If you want to take a short cut to a slimmer, healthier and more attractive body, you are in the right place. Because when you understand how to optimize your sleep patterns, you make your body much more efficient at burning fat…and you can wake up lighter than you were the night before. Yes, really!

Science backs this concept. One study showed that people who spent four hours a night sleeping over five consecutive nights gained nearly two pounds more than those who slept for a full 10 hours. If that’s the difference in less than a week, just think how much difference this can make over a year!

So how do we take advantage of this? Wouldn’t it be great if you could skip all that diet and exercise nonsense and just sleep yourself slim instead? Well, yeah – but that might be asking a bit too much. No matter how good your sleep routine is, you can’t realistically expect to binge on cake and chocolate and still lose weight.

However, sleep is very much an underestimated element in our weight-loss strategies. We tend to focus on what we do during the day, forgetting that we spend a whole third of our lives in the land of Nod. Common sense tells us that getting our sleep wrong is going to have a big, negative impact on the rest or our lives.

In our hectic, crazy modern world, we often sacrifice sleep in order to cram in all the things we need to do. We may stay up until well after midnight, and then be awoken by the morning alarm clock at some unearthly hour. We make do, rushing through our day even though we are not properly refreshed. When our energy inevitably flags, we compensate by grabbing a creamy coffee…and maybe a donut, too.

Then we wonder why we struggle to lose weight. If that sounds like you, then slow down. Take a moment or two to read on and discover why your poor sleep patterns may be ruining your weight-loss ambitions.

Why Better Sleep is Essential to Losing Weight

So can getting better quality make that much difference to your health and fitness plans? Can you really lose weight faster by sleeping better? Absolutely.

As always, of course, you still need to stick to a sensible diet and exercise program - that will always be the foundation of a successful weight-loss strategy. But you can certainly turbocharge your results by getting the most out of what a good night’s sleep can offer.

There are many reasons why quality sleep is important to losing weight:

After sleeping well, your metabolism is fired up and in great shape to burn more calories naturally while powering your normal bodily processes.

When you wake up refreshed, you will have higher energy levels. This will result in you being more active throughout the day, and so burning more fat.

If you don’t get enough sleep, your body looks for a way to get an additional energy boost to overcome tiredness. And that must come from food. So you will get cravings to snack on sweet, sugary junk food to keep you going.

Your body repairs and builds muscle while you sleep. A good night’s sleep results in more muscle growth, which in turn means you burn more calories during the course of your normal movements.

A full night’s sleep allows your body to detox properly, getting rid of all the harmful toxins that have a negative impact on your metabolism. This boosts your basal metabolic rate, creating a higher calorie burn.

How to Get Sleep that Maximizes Weight Loss  

So now that we know what is possible, let’s see how we make it happen in practice. To get you started, here are some quick and easy tips that will set you on the right track:

That’s a good start, but we need to delve a little deeper. So now let’s get into the detail of what you can do to seriously lose while you snooze. There are three main areas where can get significant improvement:

  • Getting your sleep patterns right
  • Getting to sleep quickly
  • Improving the quality of your sleep

We will dive into each of these and study how we can optimize them, so that we get all the benefits that a proper night’s sleep brings to our health and fitness regime.

Getting Your Sleep Patterns Right

There are many advantages to living in the modern world of the 21st century, but there are some disadvantages, too. One major problem is that our hectic lifestyle typically leaves us well adrift from our natural circadian rhythms, and that is bad for our health.

Circadian rhythms are the natural 24-hour cycles that govern how our bodies operate. Back in the days of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, the daily pattern was pretty simple. When it got dark, you went to sleep…and when it got light, you woke up.

So our bodies are naturally tuned to sleep during the hours of darkness, and be awake when in daylight. But thanks to electric light, we have been able to shift that pattern completely. There is now nothing to stop us from staying up until the small hours of the morning – watching TV, reading books or spending time on social media.

But this has a consequence. Many studies show that we get much better quality sleep if we stay as much in tune with our circadian rhythms as we can. Ideally, that would mean going to sleep at around 9.00pm and waking up at 5.00am. If that sounds a little crazy in our world, believe me…it’s not. I know, because this is exactly what I do.

For my New Year’s resolution this year, I decided to stop wasting time watching evening TV, grazing YouTube videos and wasting time on Facebook until midnight. I got rid of the distractions, and now hit the sack at 9.00pm every night. I wake up at 5.00am fully refreshed and ready to go. And I have so much more free time that I have become incredibly productive. I love my new routine!

If you don’t think you can manage that schedule, get as close to it as you can. If you can sleep from 10.00-6.00, you will be amazed at how your life is improved. There’s an old wives tale that says ‘an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after.’ Now that we know how important our circadian rhythms are, we can see there may be solid science behind this proverb.

Getting to Sleep Quickly

Of course, there is no point in going to bed early if you just lie there tossing and turning for hours. You need to get off to sleep as quickly as possible. I encountered this problem when I first switched to my 9.00-5.00 sleep pattern. My body was used to being wide awake at that time of the evening, and I found it hard to adjust.

These are the tactics I used to solve the problem – they worked just great for me, and I am sure they can work for you:

  • Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, seven days a week, so that your body can adjust to the new daily pattern. If you stay up late at weekends, your sleep rhythm is disrupted, and it is hard to get back into routine.
  • Sleep in a darkened room with no distractions. Draw all the drapes, and switch off equipment with flashing LEDs, such as TVS. If necessary, wear a sleep mask to block out all light.
  • Stop watching all screens at least an hour before you go to sleep. TVs and smartphones emit blue light similar to daylight. This confuses your body into thinking it is still daytime, and therefore time to be awake. If you must use your smartphone, use an app like Twilight to change the color of the light. 
  • Use an app like this one to provide you with soothing sounds to help you relax and drop off to sleep. But be sure to keep your phone out of sight, so that any light from the phone does not disturb you.
  • I’m sure you know to keep away from caffeine in the evening if you want to get off to sleep easily. But as well as holding off on the coffee, be wary of other products that contain caffeine. Chocolate, for example, has enough caffeine to disturb your sleep – apart from the problem of all the calories that come with every square. Sorry!

Improving the Quality of Your Sleep

Getting off to sleep is one thing…staying asleep is quite another. It is important to try and get a full night’s sleep without interruptions. These strategies will help you get good quality rest:

We typically sleep in cycles of 1.5 hours, getting through 6-7 cycles in a typical night. The best time to wake up is at the end of a sleep cycle. If you set you alarm to wake you eight hours after you get into bed, that gives you half an hour to drop off to sleep, followed by five full sleep cycles.

If you find that is not enough for you, then it is better to add another full cycle – 1.5 hours. Then you should wake up refreshed and ready to go. If your alarm timing is off and you wake mid-cycle, you will find it a big struggle to get out of bed.

Because quality sleep is so important, it is worth spending money on a quality mattress. You want one that molds to your body to give you maximum comfort. For the same reason, it is worth spending the extra to get quality pillows. An orthopedic pillow keeps your neck aligned correctly, which makes it easier to sleep. The additional cost is small compared to the huge benefit of better sleep.

Another great tip is to take a hot shower (or bath) before getting into bed. This not only relieves tension and relaxes your muscles, it also increases levels of oxytocin. This is a ‘love’ hormone produced by your brain, and it has a calming effect. A hot shower also raises your body temperature, followed by a relaxing dip when you get out and towel off.

Here’s another tip. A scientific study showed that the more sex you get, the better you sleep – and therefore the more weight you lose. It’s official…getting intimate with your partner really is very good for you. So if you were wondering what to do instead of watching TV late at night, now you know. Who needs Jimmy Fallon, right?

Bonus Sleeping Tips for Maximum Weight Loss

If you still need a little extra help getting the most weight-loss benefit at night, here are some ideas to help you.

  • Turn down the thermostat: lower room temperatures enhance the effectiveness of our stores of brown fat, which has the effect of helping us lose belly fat. 
  • Sleep naked: this works in the same way as lowering the thermostat. When your body is cooler, you naturally burn more fat.
  • Avoid alcohol in the evenings: If you drink alcohol within three hours of going to sleep, your body will be forced to metabolize it. This prevents your body from going into the REM state of sleep where you burn the most calories. 

Wake Up to a Slimmer Version of You

So there you have it…a whole gamut of weight-loss strategies that are so much easier than working out multiple times a week, or going on a very restrictive diet.

But if you combine these sleep tactics with a moderate diet and exercise program, you will be unstoppable. Not only will the pounds fall off you, but you will also feel so much more energetic…and you will get a whole lot done every day.

Sweet dreams!

About the author


Hello, I'm Mark. I'm a bodybuilding champion and have been active in the industry for over 10 years. I created this website to provide fellow bodybuilders with useful information to help them achieve their dream physique.