Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the brain to help you sleep better and one of the easiest ways to burn fat and build muscle is simply to get more sleep.
How Sleep Helps You Burn Fat
Research published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine (one of the the big kahunas of peer reviewed medical journals) establishes that sleep–and sleep alone–is one of the most powerful diet tools ever identified.
In this study, which compared two groups of overweight non-smokers on calorie restricted diets for 14 days. One group clocked 8.5 hours of sleep per night, and the other logged 5.5 hours of sleep per night (which the authors point out is a “norm” for people in this day and age.) Both groups ate roughly 1,450 calories a day. After two weeks, the people who slept more lost more fat than the group who slept less. More than half of the weight loss during the 8.5 hours of sleep was fat versus only one quarter of the weight loss during the 5.5 hours of sleep.
Even more startling, the participants who slept less lost more muscle (60% more muscle was lost by the sleep-deprived group.) Those three hours of lost sleep caused a shift in metabolism that made the body want to preserve fat at the expense of muscle. And that’s not all that happened: When the researchers compared circulating blood levels of appetite-regulating hormones in the two groups they found those who slept for three fewer hours had produced more of the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin. They woke up hungrier.
When you sleep less, your body starts to burn calories at a slower rate to preserve energy. In the study, people burned on average 400 more calories by sleeping for 3 more hours–that’s an additional 2,800 calories burned in just one week. With less sleep, the body seeks to meet the increased metabolic needs of longer waking hours by shifting into a lower gear, so to speak, that burns fewer calories and less fat.
How Sleep Helps you Build Muscle
First, when you lift weights, what you’re doing is actually tearing the muscle tissue. After you eat your body uses certain nutrients to repair your muscle tissue. What you need to remember though, is that the protein and your body won’t start repairing your muscle tissue until you are at rest for a extended period of time, such as sleep. What this means is that if you are lacking sleep, your body isn’t getting sufficient time to repair and recover your muscles one hundred percent.
In addition to this, since sleep is the primary time the body recovers from exercise, it’s also when you will be rebuilding your torn muscle tissues. Without this recovery time, you’re going to go into your next exercise session at a disadvantage.
Finally, you must not overlook the connection between the amount of sleep you get and your overall exercise performance. When you are short on sleep, it’s quite typical to find yourself struggling to maintain the usual level of exercise that you normally would tolerate quite well.
Bottom Line: If you want to burn fat, preserve muscle and wake up less hungry when you are dieting, sleep more…8.5 hours a night to be exact.
If you have trouble with your quality of sleep try taking melatonin.