This article is part of our Stupid Diet Series, therefore we do not recommend this diet.
Here’s a unique approach to dieting: if you aren’t awake, you’re not eating cake! Advocates of the Sleeping Beauty diet claim that the diet not only has the obvious benefit of reducing the times that you eat, but also that the sleep you get helps to regulate your metabolism and improve weight loss.
Unfortunately, there is very little actual science to support these theories. Logic does dictate, of course, that if you are neither awake nor eating, your body must still need some nutrients and you will therefore lose weight. However, this approach seems a little bit drastic, and not entirely within reach of those people who have to do normal things like go to work and pick up the kids from school.
Extreme advocates of the Sleeping Beauty diet recommend using sedatives to sleep up to 20 hours a day for days at a time, eating only one small meal occasionally. This, needless to say, is an extremely dangerous way to live.
There are two different approaches to the Sleeping Beauty Diet. One is to simply try to sleep as much as possible, and sleep instead of eating. If you’ve ever tried to go to bed on an empty stomach, you’ll see the problem behind this already.
The other approach is to use sedatives to sleep for hours or days at a time. If you can’t wake up, you can’t eat! Unfortunately this also affects brain health, among other things, and you’ll probably wake up having soiled the bed without proper clinical… attachments.
There’s no last word on whether or not the Sleeping Beauty diet is just a waste of time or downright hazardous, but there has recently been research into the relationship between various sleep hormones and weight loss. This diet is usually marketed as taking advantage of this relationship, but there is little literature to support the idea that you are doing yourself an actual favour in any way.
What’s In It
The Sleeping Beauty diet isn’t a diet, per se, as it does not prescribe the things you should eat. Rather, it just prescribes a general lack of eating, and a whole lot of sleeping. Certain sedatives are recommended, but most of these need to be obtained via a prescription.
If you tell your doctor you want a powerful sedative so you can sleep for days on end and not eat, he’ll probably prescribe something else instead.
Who’s On It
Unsurprisingly there are few, if any, celebrities who will admit to knocking themselves out for days in an attempt to lose weight. There are certainly no nutritionists who advocate this diet, except for the people who made it up. If you’re looking for a celebrity role model who used this diet and lose 25lbs, you’re going to be looking for a long time.
Why You Might Want to Avoid It
Despite the obvious craziness, there’s a little voice in the back of my head right now saying, “Well, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea…”
It is a bad idea. Messing with your sleep is one of the worst things you can do to your body. On the Sleeping Beauty diet you’re not only using sedatives and chemicals to force your body to sleep more than you normally would, you’re stopping eating as well.
The negative effects of not eating will be offset for a little while by generally performing no activity, but after a few days you’re going to start experiencing some side effects. These will include, but will certainly not be limited to, headaches, daylight visual and auditory hallucinations, loss of balance, impaired speech and cognitive ability, mood swings, bad temper and an inability to get a decent night of natural sleep. Don’t say you weren’t warned.