Woman sleeping well

How to burn fat as you sleep: 5 top tips

5 min read


04 Aug 2023

What you'll learn in this blog

  1. Get your carbs in early and your protein later in the day.
  2. Keep your bedroom dark.
  3. Keep well hydrated.
  4. Don’t snack before bedtime.
  5. Prepare well to sleep well.

One of the great things about your body is that it’s always working for you. Even when you’re sleeping, it’s pumping blood around your body, breathing, digesting food and burning calories. Yes, it burns calories even when you sleep, not just when resting. 

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there were hacks to increase the amount of fat we burn while we’re sleeping? 

Well, the good news is - there are. 

If you’re clever and make a few minor changes to your habits, you can tweak things in your favour so that you’re able to burn fat and shift calories even when you’re sleeping. 

And you won’t just benefit from the fat-burning, you’ll also get a better quality of sleep and wake up feeling ready for the day ahead, which will give you added energy for burning calories during the hours you’re awake.

Get your carbs in early (and your protein later in the day)

Making sure that most of your carbohydrate intake is earlier in the day means that you’ll be able to burn these off more easily through movement and exercise during the day, and you won’t have too many excess carbs to burn off at night. 

This also means that you’ll have less insulin in your blood, helping your body process the fat and convert it to energy while sleeping. 

Eating bigger meals later in the day can also lead to disruptive sleep as the body is working harder while you’re resting. Eating lighter food later in the day, especially those high in tryptophan- an amino acid that helps relaxation and sleep is a good idea.  

Turkey, chicken and eggs are ideal for this purpose, as they’ll help you relax and get a decent night's sleep. Concentrating on your protein intake later in the day means that the amino acids can get to work while you sleep. A protein shake before bedtime is a great choice.

Keep your bedroom dark

Window blinds blocking moonlight

Getting a restful night is essential if you want your body to work for you to its maximum. Studies have shown that exposure to light before you head to bed can be highly disruptive to your system. Exposure to light when sleeping has been linked to several health issues, including depression and weight gain. It might be difficult for you to completely shut out all of the light in your bedroom, but the darker it is, the better you should sleep and the more your body will work for you. 

When we sleep in complete darkness, our body releases melatonin, which helps to regulate our blood pressure and stress hormones and also helps to metabolise our calories. So, needless to say, the more calories you want to burn, the darker your room should be. If your curtains aren’t doing a decent enough job, you could also install some blinds or shutters to minimise the light seeping through.  Turn your TV and your phone off if you can, and try to stick to the same bedtime schedule if you can so that your body is trained to fall asleep at the same time each night.

Keep well hydrated

Hydration always appears on “how to be healthy” lists, and for good reason. It can often be overlooked as one of the most important yet simplest ways to keep your body working to its full potential. Keeping hydrated doesn’t mean taking in as much water as you can in one go, and gulping down a couple of pints of water before you head to bed is likely to cause restless sleep for obvious reasons. 

Keeping hydrated sensibly means simply topping up your water levels with small sips here and there. If you can drink between eight and ten cups of water a day, your metabolism will get a huge boost, not least because cold water makes your body work harder. This is because it needs to use calories to heat the body up, so the colder the water, the more calories you burn. 

Don’t snack before bedtime

Snacking before bedtime

Your eating schedule should also be consistent as well as trying to get into a better sleep routine. This way, you can train your body to expect to digest food at certain times and then release melatonin so that you can rest. Eat light before bedtime to give your body less work to do when you sleep, and some light exercise after your final meal will help to kick start the calorie-burning process. 

Don’t overdo it, though. Putting yourself through a hefty workout just before you try to sleep will get your heart rate up, and you might find it difficult to drift off. Similarly, drinking coffee before bedtime is going to cause issues with the caffeine keeping you awake when you’re trying to sleep. This can then cause anxiety and stress, which will add to the issue. Winding down means exactly that- taking your foot off the pedal and slowing down. 

Prepare well to sleep well

Try to get into a routine of sleep-inducing and fat-burning habits each night. We’ve mentioned how the body needs to burn calories when it warms up, so taking a cold shower each evening is a great habit to get into as it’ll make your body work to warm up again and will burn calories in the process. 

Sleeping in a cool room is a good idea too. Keep it well-ventilated but not freezing cold.  Drinking coffee isn’t a great idea, but decaffeinated tea is a great idea as it’s full of antioxidants, and it’s been linked to stimulating fat breakdown. Turn off any gadgets that are likely to disturb you at night, and if you have a busy day ahead, make a list of what you have to do the following day so that it’s out of your head and onto paper. This way you won’t worry about forgetting what you must do. 

Ready to burn fat as you sleep?

If we want to burn fat while we sleep, the first step is preparation. Make sure you’ve got all of your boxes ticked during the day. Carbs should be eaten earlier in the day and protein later. Taking care of your diet means trying to prevent insulin surges at night, which will create fat. Keep your bedroom peaceful and dark. Keep well hydrated, but not too much. Losing weight isn’t just about burning calories, it’s also about not creating them in the first place.  

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