Getting your bikini body isn’t just about madly exercising at the gym. According to experts you can actually burn calories while you sleep.
Sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo says that sleep can actually curb appetite. “A recent study of 1,024 people found that hunger hormone grehlin increases 15.5% and satiety hormone leptin decreases 15.5% as a result of sleeping 5 rather than 8 hours. Translated, you’re hungrier and find it harder to stop eating,” she says.
She also says that sleep can stop carb cravings by 40%. “Chocolate, cake and bagels are probably not ideal for any bikini body - let’s be fair. Scientists have recently discovered that inadequate sleep decreases our ability to absorb sugars properly, so post eating, you’re still hungry. Quite simply, the body does not digest sugars as it normally would, so you remain hungry - and reaching for that chocolate bar,” Olivia adds.
And according to Olivia, sleep boosts fat burning. “During deep sleep our body undergoes a process that preserves lean muscle mass - which is key to raising your metabolism, even before you’ve started Pilates.”
Here are Olivia’s top tips for a great sleep.
Step 1: Aim for quality sleep
Realising that quality sleep is not reflected by hours asleep is key. Quality sleep means we engage in deep sleep - not just shallow sleep, which is signified by waking up frequently or waking up unrefreshed. By unwinding with an evening relaxation routine, complete with a sleep supplement such as magnesium, herbal tea like chamomile, listening to a meditation track with an eye mask for the last 15 minutes of the night is a great place to start.
Step 2: Reduce stimulants in the afternoon and eve
Cut caffeine after 12pm, careful to avoid other sources of caffeine such as chocolate and green/black tea too.
Step 3: Reduce sugar
Sugar, like caffeine, is a stimulant too! Avoiding sugar also reduces anxiety and promotes relaxation, having positive repercussions for your sleep. Plus, for weight loss overall, cutting sugar, increases your reliance on protein rich foods, which scientists have revealed is the key to appetite control. Substitute sugar for stevia, eat whole fruits instead of dried, swap sauces for herbs and spices and favour a DIY cocktail over classics, using a clear spirit, soda, sprigs of mint, slices of lemon and a touch of juice - delish!