How to lose visceral fat: The number of hours you should sleep to reduce harmful belly fat

Visceral fat builds up inside the abdominal cavity, amassing around internal organs and, eventually, causing health complications. But sleeping a certain number of hours could reduce visceral fat gain. Studies reveal that a lack of shuteye may increase your risk of visceral fat gain.

A six-year study, involving 293 people, found that increasing sleep from six hours or less up to eight hours reduced visceral fat gain by approximately 26 percent – there’s never been a better reason to get back into bed. Who’d have thought that snoozing could be so beneficial?

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In fact, BUPA – an international healthcare provider – recognises the health benefits associated with a good night’s rest.

BUPA states: “Not getting enough sleep can make it more difficult to control your appetite and might cause you to gain weight.”

This is because, if you’re not fully rested, your body will crave more energy (food) because it’s been awake for longer.

BUPA adds: “Some research has even suggested that being sleep-deprived changes the level of hormones that signal hunger and fullness in your body.

“This can make you more likely to choose unhealthy foods (like those high in sugar), and to overeat, particularly later in the day.”

There’s no denying that eating too much junk is going to have an adverse effect on your waistline.

And Harvard Medical School point out that measuring your waist circumference can indicate levels of visceral fat inside your body.

For men, a waist circumference over 40 inches is considered high risk. To explain, high risk involves having too much visceral fat which will lead to health problems.

For women, a waist circumference of 35 inches and over is also high risk.

To measure your waist circumference properly, stand with your feet together, relax and exhale.

Then use a cloth measuring tape to measure your waist circumference in line with your navel.

Be sure to keep the tape parallel to the ground and record the measurement.

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Stress has been scientifically linked to an increase in visceral fat – the harmful belly fat.

One study concluded that those who are stressed are likely to have “excess abdominal fat, and have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol”.

BUPA understands how the stress hormone cortisol could have a negative impact on sleeping patterns, because cortisol can keep you awake.

However, it also notes how a good night’s sleep can relax the systems in your body responsible for the stress response, thereby having the opposite effect.

In essence, having a restful sleep of seven to eight hours per night is a good way to reduce feelings of stress and can help to reduce visceral fat levels.

Other proven strategies to remove visceral fat include increasing the amount and intensity of exercise performed on a regular basis.

Livestrong report a weight loss of five to 10 percent go your total body weight can help reduce visceral fat stores.

Eating a healthy, nutritious diet – full of vegetables and fruits – can help remove visceral fat.

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