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Bust Fat Without Lifting a Finger… Really!

Ben Franklin first proposed daylight savings time while in France. The suggestion was made partly as a joke. Moving the clocks up an hour would have let him sleep an hour later on summer mornings. And Mr. Franklin loved his sleep.

Of course, most of us missed that joke. But busting fat without lifting a finger isn’t a joke at all. And Mr. Franklin might have been a bit less portly if he’d taken his own advice about keeping regular hours.

You may already know that getting a good night’s sleep can help you avoid gaining weight. I’ve written on the topic before. Including the fact that a lack of sleep triggers cravings for all the wrong foods.

But a team led by Brigham Young University has now uncovered data that can help you maximize sleep’s slimming power. And it turns out sleep may be more slimming than we thought. If you just follow a couple of simple guidelines.

The new study recruited 330 young women from two universities. They recorded the women’s physical activity, sleep habits and some vital statistics.

They measured the volunteers’ body composition. That is, their percentages of fat and lean tissue. The recorded activity levels and sleep patterns for a full week.

And they found a “sweet spot.” The amount of sleep that appears most efficient at promoting a leaner, slimmer body.

The team also made several recommendations for improving your sleep… which I’ll share in a moment. First, here’s what the study found.

To begin with, regular exercise appears to have a positive effect on sleep. Active women tended to sleep longer and have a lower percentage of body fat than inactive women.

Women who slept less than 6.5 hours a night – or more than 8.5 hours – consistently had higher body fat.

The subjects who slept soundly also had a lower body fat percentage. In other words, when it comes to sleep, quality counts.

Getting to bed and getting up at around the same time every day was clearly linked to lower body fat. Women who varied the schedules by more than 90 over a week had much more body fat than those whose schedules varied by less than an hour.

Having a consistent time to get up appeared to be especially important.

Now for that sweet spot I mentioned… It’s sleeping 8 to 8.5 hours a night. That’s where sleep’s fat-fighting powers seem to be most effective.1

So how do you get a better night’s sleep? The researchers’ suggestions are all ideas I’ve offered before:

  • Sleep in a cool, dark quiet environment.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Use your bed only for sleeping.

To that, I’ll add one more idea: Don’t be afraid to use a nutritional supplement to enhance sleep. Melatonin, valerian and lemon balm are just three of several supplements that safely promote longer and better sleep.

Yours in continued good health,

Best Life Herbals Wellness Team

1 Bailey, B.W., et al, “Objectively Measured Sleep Patterns in Young Adult Women and the Relationship to Adiposity,” American Journal of Health Promotion. 2013; 10.4278/ajhp.121012-QUAN-500.

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