At times it seems like everyone is looking for an easy way to boost their metabolism and shed some pounds. We’ve been told to drink cold water before meals. Some say constant fidgeting is key. Some use mental imagery. As easy as these tasks may be, they are not always effective. But have you ever considered how your sleeping environment affects your body fat? If you are trying to boost your metabolism and insulin sensitivity, studies suggest that you may want to sleep in a cooler environment.
According to a recent study, the temperature of your bedroom actually has a direct impact on your fat composition, and potentially your metabolism. How so? It turns out that cooler temperatures result in an increase in brown fat, a metabolically active fat that, until recently, was not thought to exist in adults. Brown fat has been shown to burn ordinary white fat and increase insulin sensitivity. Adults contain mere teaspoonfuls within their necks and upper backs, but according to a study published in Diabetes, it can be altered by changing your sleeping habitat.
In the study, five young, healthy men slept in a controlled room with a controlled diet for 4 months — the first and third months spent sleeping at a neutral 75 degrees, the second month a cool 66, and the final month a very warm 81. Their findings were quite astounding. The men, while remaining neutral in the 75 degree bedrooms, actually doubled their levels of brown fat and improved their insulin sensitivity during their month in the 66 degree bedroom. This is because cooler temperatures, while still being above shivering, activate brown fat deposits, which start increasing and fervently burning fuel. Their ignition also improves the body’s sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is an important finding for diabetes and insulin resistance research.
On the other hand, the volunteers’ time spent sleeping in the 81 degree bedroom actually reduced their initial quantities of metabolically active brown fat, meaning they had less than they started out with. Luckily, this study shows that brown fat levels are not stagnant, and may be adjusted as easily as turning the thermostat down while you sleep. Plus, the lower heating bill can’t hurt in the winter!
Brown fat is mostly found in great quantities in infants and young children, gradually decreasing with age, as the elderly show the least amount. How else can you increase the brown fat you do possess? All-mighty exercise actually has the potential to morph some of your white fat into brown and burn more calories. It also helps to eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet and keep a positive outlook on life if you are looking to shed some pounds. If nothing else, that will help with anything.