For personal trainers, the best way to lose weight is by hitting the gym. For bicyclists, distance runners and triathletes, the track is their main turf for exercising. For nutritionists and dieticians, losing weight begins in the kitchen.

However, several studies have revealed that these three ideas may all be wrong. Sustainable and successful weight loss may actually start in an unexpected place: your bedroom.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that insufficient sleep could reduce the chances of weight loss by 55 percent. In a randomized study, the team discovered that despite any weight loss intervention, lack of enough shuteye may compromise its effectiveness.

Dietician Neha Chandna explained that some gut bacteria can help reduce weight by changing the way our bodies metabolize food, impact insulin resistance, and promote hormones that reduce appetite, but there is a condition: you need to sleep well first.

"Our body recovers and repairs when we are asleep. That's the time these good bacteria do their work well," said Chandna.

Dr. Helena Popovic meanwhile said that less than 5 hours of sleep per night can elevate the risks for type 2 diabetes and obesity.

"Sleep deprivation disrupts all our hormonal processes so we're not only driven to eat more but we tend to move less both consciously and unconsciously," said Popovic, adding that sleep deprivation causes the body to deposit fat around the abdomen or belly fat.

With that, here are some weight loss tips that can definitely help you shed pounds while you comfortably sleep in your bed:

1. Eat Meat.

Previous studies have shown that L-tryptophan, an amino acid found in meats, has powerful sleep-inducing effects. A study among insomniacs discovered that 1 gm of meat can significantly increase hours of deep sleep.

2. Make Sure To Sleep 7 To 9 Hours A Day.

While people with insufficient sleep were at risk for diseases, those who have enough sleep have their body produce the hormone leptin which regulates energy by preventing hunger. Popovic said that sleeping will make you feel less hungry, and you will feel more refreshed and energized.

In another study by the University of Colorado, researchers found that dieters who had enough sleep consumed 6 percent fewer calories a day. That could amount to 120 calories per day for someone who is on a 2,000-calorie diet.

3. Set Earlier Time For Dinner.

Restricted time in eating is proven to help mice stay lean. In a study featured in Cell Metabolism, experts put several mice on high-calorie, high-fat diet for 100 days. Half of them ate throughout the day and night on a controlled diet, while half only had access to the food for 8 hours and could eat whenever they wanted. The mice on the first group became obese, while the mice on the second group remained fit.

4. Take Protein Shake.

Drinking protein shake before you go to sleep may boost your metabolism, as a study by Florida State University revealed. Men who ate an evening snack that had 30 grams (1 ounce) of whey or casein protein had better levels of resting metabolism the next morning. Experts said that because protein is more thermogenic than fat or carbs, your body burns more calories while digesting it.

5. Sniff Mint Or Dab It Onto Your Pillow.

Scents like mint can make your mouth water. A past study revealed [pdf] that people who sniffed peppermint every 2 hours had lost an average of 5 pounds per month. Scents such as vanilla, green apple, and banana had similar effects. With that, we suggest you burn a minty candle inside your room before you go to sleep. If you don't want to blow out candles because it'll disturb your sleep, try putting a few drops of the scent onto your pillow.

6. Make Your Room Colder.

A study featured in the journal Diabetes found that blasting the air conditioner or turning down the heat warmer during winter may help attack belly fats while we sleep. Temperatures that are colder enhance the efficacy of our stores of brown fat, which keeps us warm by helping us burn the said belly fat.

7. Throw Out The Night Light, Hide Your Mobile Device And Turn Off Your TV.

Lastly, a study issued in the journal Pediatric Obesity found that children who bring electronics with them while they sleep gain more weight. When exposed to the nighttime glow of the TV or the computer, these children suffer from poor lifestyle habits and don't get enough rest. Students with access to their gadgets were 1.47 times as likely to be overweight than those with no gadgets.

At the end of the day, the most important thing you must avoid is beating yourself up by sleeping for only a few hours. Doing so will not only affect your health, but also your performance at school or at work.

Photo: Tony Alter | Flickr

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