The dream is this: to lose weight while we sleep. Whether an exercise-phobe, hate to sweat or hey, simply lazy, wouldn't it be great if we could use those slumber hours to whittle away our waists or flatten our tums?

Well, according to sleep experts, it's not a myth - by making these tweaks to your night-time routine, you can help your body fight the fat.

You won't wake up as Elle Macpherson, but it could help to kick start your weight loss routine...

Darken your bedroom

A dark, light-free room is said to be a massive boost to weight loss. Why? The hormone melatonin can regulate your body’s natural rhythms and produces calorie-burning fat.

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More melatonin is created when you’re in darkness, so make sure there’s no light peeking through and give your weight loss an easy boost.

Be cold, not cosy

It’s simple really; your body’s metabolism speeds when you’re cold in order to keep you warm. Casting off a layer of clothing won’t see you suddenly drop a stone but every little helps.

Try switching to a thinner duvet, turning down the temperature of your central heating or wearing thinner pyjamas (or better still, sleep in the nude!)

Pick up a pepper…

If you want to burn fat, make sure your evening meal contains pepper. Be it a hot pepper, a red pepper or just black pepper, spicy foods give your metabolism a spicy kick. Since your body continues to burn fat while you snooze, this fiery combination is fat-burning dynamite.

…But stop with the salt
Put down that takeaway menu, pronto! Foods high in sodium are a no-go, as salt stays in your system overnight leaving you waking up feeling – and looking – more puffy and bloated than normal.

Catch as many zeds as possible

Had a terrible night’s sleep? If you have, chances are you’ll wake up reaching for croissants, chocolate and carbs. When you’re tired, your body craves sugary, calorie-dense foods to keep it alert and awake as you’re running on empty.

If you’re well rested, studies have shown that these cravings are dulled and you’re more likely to make healthier food choices the next day.