The good news is that your body is already adapted for how to burn fat naturally. It does so constantly, throughout each 24-hour period. You may be surprised to know that your peak fat burning mode generally occurs while you sleep. Of course, the rate at which you use the energy of fat also depends on when, what, and how much you eat and on the frequency, intensity, and duration of your physical activity.
So why is sleep so important for you to burn fat naturally? Actually, sleep itself isn't the main point. The importance of the time between when you finish dinner and when you have breakfast is the key, which just happens to include a typical night's sleep.
Mobilizing Belly Fat
Excess fat is stored fuel that your body has put away for energy when needed. However, right after you finish dinner, you are still burning off the food calories that you just ate. If you can avoid eating an evening snack, the calories from your meal will be mostly gone within a few hours, at which time you will start to use up stored carbohydrate, in the form of glycogen, from your liver and muscle tissues. You will also use up fat that is circulating in the blood.
By about 9 hours after dinner, the readily available calories from your previous meal, from stored carbohydrate, and from circulating fat are most likely used up. This is now prime time for your body to mobilize fat from storage and start using it for your metabolism. This fat mobilization period is when your body is supposed to burn fat naturally while you sleep.
Heating Up Your Fat Burning Furnace
You really don't have to do anything at this point except to have breakfast about twelve hours after you had dinner. Ideally, at breakfast your furnace has already been at its fat burning hottest for about three hours, the period from 9-12 hours after your dinner. That's really all there is to it for optimizing your metabolism to burn fat naturally while you sleep.
The explanation here of how you burn fat naturally while you sleep leaves out the importance of getting good sleep and otherwise releasing stress at night. These are additional factors that will influence your metabolism. Nevertheless, depending on your health and how well you eat in general, whatever you do to make sure you have about a 12-hour period between dinner and breakfast will give you your best chance to burn fat naturally every night.
Destructiveness of Bedtime Snacks
After-dinner snacking, a little bit of ice cream before bed, a midnight snack ... all of these will interrupt your prime fat-burning time. This is a fact of your normal biochemistry. If you have trouble making it from dinner to breakfast without eating, you either have an underlying health problem or bad habits that you have to overcome, or both. If you want to burn fat naturally, the way your body is meant to do, you must allow it to dip into stored fat for at least a couple of hours every night. This is your simplest, easiest, and best hope for harnessing the power of your own metabolism.
Can Everyone Burn Fat Naturally While They Sleep?
Unfortunately, the answer is that not everyone can benefit from nighttime fat burning as much as they should. Your body has its limits, especially if you have diabetes, hormone imbalance, thyroid deficiency, a poor lifestyle, or are taking a number of prescription drugs. The good news is that most of the things that slow down your fat metabolism are based on poor choices that you can undo. You are supposed to burn fat naturally while you sleep, so doing whatever you can to be healthy will keep you on track to do so.
Dr. Dennis Clark, PhD, retired after 30 years as a professor at Arizona State University. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and owns a retail nutrition store, Doctors Nutrition Center, in Tempe, AZ. His professional research and teaching expertise includes plant biochemistry, integrative medicine, and medical botany. Dr. Clark has co-authored a college-level textbook on plant biology, written popular books on herbal medicine, and published more than three dozen research articles in scientific journals. He invites you to learn more about how to burn fat naturally at http://BellyFatScience.com and about the views of a research scientist on how to live a long and healthy life, at http://HerbScientist.com