There’s one easy way you can burn fat and keep it off – and it improves just about every other area of your life as well.
This simple trick is to get more sleep.
The venerable Stephan Guyenet covered this in detail over at WholeHealthSource, but I’m going to break it down and make it even simpler for you.
Not sleeping enough has already been shown to do a number of things that cause you to carry more body fat:
- Increased hunger
- Increased desire for fattening food
- Reduced interest in exercise
- Reduced will-power
At this point, the picture is pretty clear that not sleeping enough can really lead to packing on the pounds. A recent study has made this even more clear.
The researchers were interested in how sleep affects the genetic effect on obesity. To illuminate this, they looked at identical twins, and their results are astonishing.
It’s been well established that genetics influence about 60-70% of body fat levels. It turns out that sleep has a huge effect on this proportion.
They found the following:
- Genetics dictated 70% of fatness in subjects sleeping <7hrs/night
- Genetics dictated 32% of fatness in subjects sleeping >9hrs/night
What this means is that you can cut the influence of genetics by over 50% by adding an extra two hours of sleep per night. I suspect that it’s not linear, so even sleeping the recommended eight hours per night can reduce the genetic influence on your body fat by more than 25%.
Let’s say you’re an 200lb male with 25% body fat (pictured above) who sleeps 7hrs/night. You have 50lbs of body fat. Let’s assume your genetic influence wants to keep you at 35% BF, but your lifestyle is healthy, so it wants you at 10% BF. Add two hours of sleep per night, you can drop ((35-10)/2)=12.5% body fat, or 25lbs. Put another way, not sleeping enough is making you 25lbs fatter.
Getting enough sleep also improves your life in numerous other ways:
- Improved energy
- Improved focus
- Improved immune system
- Improved stress management
- Decreased depression
- Increased testosterone
- Decreased aging
- Increased problem solving ability
- Enhanced memory
- Decreased blood pressure
- Improved athletic performance
- Longer lifespan
In the future, we’ll cover the benefits of sleep in detail.
So get to sleep a little earlier from now on, your brain and body (and even your girlfriend) will thank you for it.