Getting a poor night’s sleep doesn’t just make you cranky—it can also make you fat. Research shows logging less than 8 hours a night increases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which negatively affects the microbes in your gut, slowing your metabolism.
Fortunately, you can reverse course and keep your metabolism cranking overnight with these simple steps.
1. Lift weights at night.
After work, head straight from your desk to the dumbbell rack and you can boost your metabolic rate for 16 hours, according to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition.
No gym membership? No problem. Our at-home DVD program, THE 21-DAY METASHRED, will ignite your fat-burning furnace until morning.
2. Upgrade your protein shake.
Feed your hungry muscles by trading whey for casein in your post-workout shake. This slow-release protein is gradually digested over 8 hours and keeps your metabolic fires burning through the night.
Dutch researchers also say that casein enhances protein synthesis, which helps you cut an extra 35 calories a day for every pound of new muscle gained.
3. Freeze your butt (and gut) off.
An icy shower does more than flush out lactic acid after the gym. Research in PLoS ONE finds that a 30-second freeze is all it takes to activate your body’s brown fat—which, when fired up, melts as much as an extra 400 calories in bed.
Make sure you stick your head under the faucet: More brown fat is stored in the back of your neck and shoulders.
4. Drink a different kind of brew.
The flavonoids found in green tea boost your metabolism—and if it’s your third cup of the day, you’ll burn 3.5 percent more calories overnight, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Don’t worry about caffeine content. Green tea will help keep you up for the news at 10, but not all night.
5. Sleep in a cool room.
Cranking the radiator at night burns through little more than your gas bill.
Research from the National Institutes of Health says that turning down your thermostat to a cool 66 degrees Fahrenheit cuts 7 percent more calories, as your body burns fat to maintain its core temperature.