Did you know that people, particularly women, are using Saran wrap or any other plastic wrap to lose inches off their stomach overnight? Even though this sounds like a fake internet hack, it can actually work… but not in the way you think.
In this article, we’ll explain why people are doing this, how it works, and the pros and cons of sleeping in plastic wrap overnight. There are also some dangerous side effects to learn about, and we highly recommend you talk to a doctor or alter your eating/exercise habits if you are serious about losing weight!
Why People Sleep with Plastic Wrap on Their Stomachs
The obvious answer is to “burn belly fat” and attain a gloriously slim waist. It’s a well-known fact that fat around the belly is very hard to lose. This is because our bodies like to store fat in our bellies but prefer to burn it from other areas of the body first.
It’s really frustrating when you exercise and diet all week, but don’t lose a single inch off your stomach!
That’s why hacks like the overnight plastic wrap are so popular and get a lot of attention. This particularly hack entails:
- Apply lotion or even Vicks VapoRub to your stomach area,
- Grab a roll of plastic food wrap (also known as Saran wrap),
- Wrap the plastic tightly around your stomach multiple times,
- Go to bed.
You should wake up with a slimmer waist… but why?
Well, you certainly haven’t burned any fat. It just doesn’t work that way. Instead, you have dangerously increased the temperature around your stomach and made it very difficult for your body to keep your stomach area cool during the night.
As a result, you will have lost a lot of water through sweating. Some of it will be trapped beneath the Saran wrap, but your body may have made you sweat in other places too in an attempt to keep your body temperature down.
So, wrapping your stomach in plastic wrap while you sleep simply dehydrates your body, particularly around your stomach area, so that you “de-bloat” and lose an inch or two.
Now let’s look at the pros, cons, and dangers of this practice.
There are some advantages to this method for training your waist overnight:
- It’s really inexpensive. You can buy 100 square feet of Saran wrap on Amazon for less than $5.
- It works fast – you will notice results overnight.
- You don’t need to put in any effort, just go to sleep.
- Even though it’s incredibly unhealthy and dangerous, it will work to an extent.
The main lure to this hack is that it genuinely works, in as much as it will reduce your waist circumference. In this world, people want instant results for minimal effort, and this hack can deliver that.
So it’s good for circumstances where you need to quickly lose an inch or two off your waist. If you need to fit into a prom or wedding dress in short notice, for example, this is a legitimate way to attain your slim waist goals.
The problem is that it is not a long-term solution. The Saran wrap trick works by dehydrating your body – we’ll explain this in more detail below – so you will find yourself thirstier than normal. Over the next few days, your body will replenish the water lost and you’ll be back to normal.
If you want to permanently decrease the size and shape of your waist, you need to burn fat. This requires diet and exercise, which needs time and commitment. It’s hard work!
There are many disadvantages to this hack that you should be aware of:
- The results don’t last because you haven’t burnt any fat.
- It feels really uncomfortable while you sleep in the wrap.
- You will feel very thirsty and maybe even faint the next morning.
- Dizziness, nausea, confusion, and headaches are also often reported as side effects (unsurprisingly, these are also symptoms of dehydration).
- Dehydration causes your body to hold onto and store as much water that’s left as it can, so you may experience constipation.
- Compressing your bodily organs for prolonged periods can cause abdominal pain and cramps. We’ve also heard that it can lead to stomach ulcers and digestive issues, although we cannot scientifically confirm this.
- You’re directly exposing your body to plastic Saran wrap. Although it’s generally considered one of the safest plastics, the USDA recommends it doesn’t come into contact with your food in the microwave. Many other people want to avoid plastic on their food and in their homes altogether. This is just something to bear in mind before you wrap up your belly.
Anyone or any business that claims that putting plastic wrap on your stomach while sleeping burns fat is simply lying. There is no scientific evidence that this works. Furthermore, some of the original sources that invented this method state that you should only wrap your stomach for 40 minutes or so at a time, not overnight!
Dehydration is incredibly dangerous and the potential side effects of this weight loss hack can be severe. Is it really worth risking all of these hazards just to temporarily lose an inch of water weight off your stomach?
We don’t think so. That’s why we recommend these legitimate and healthy ways to burn belly fat instead.
Better Ways to Shift Belly Fat
The two best ways to shift belly fat are:
- Diet – eat a healthy and balanced diet. Reducing your calorie intake just below your maintenance number (the number of calories you need to provide enough energy for your body in a day) to create a calorie deficit will help you start to burn fat for energy instead.
You can also try specific diets, like the keto diet, but we recommend talking to a nutritionist or doctor first. If you have an existing medical condition, some diets may not be appropriate for you.
- Exercise – exercise burns calories. If you exercise lots, you won’t need to diet so much to reduce your calorie intake below what your body needs each day.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell your body to burn belly fat first. In fact, you’re most likely to see results in your face, arms and legs before your torso. This is partly because your body only stores a limited amount of fat in these areas (meanwhile your belly expands so much more) so you notice the results here first.
Genuinely losing fat is hard work, but the benefits are far greater than just losing water weight for a day or too. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can:
- Lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease,
- Improve insulin sensitivity in muscles,
- Decrease pain, particularly in your joints and lower back,
- Improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels,
- Improve mobility, so you can move freely without restrictions,
- Lower your risk of certain types of cancer,
- Improve the quality of your sleep or prevent sleep apnea.
Other Tools to Help You Burn Fat
If you want to find natural “hacks” that will enhance fat burning while you change your lifestyle to include more exercise and a healthy diet, there are some options. Unlike the plastic wrap around your belly, there is some scientific evidence that these methods will work:
- Drink matcha green tea. One study found that drinking matcha before exercising can enhance fat oxidation, helping you to burn off fat faster.
- Reduce fat in your diet. This study found that people who restricted fat in their diet lost more bodily fat than those who restricted carbohydrates instead.
- Try intermittent dieting. A study comparing daily calorie restriction vs intermittent calorie restriction found them to be equally effective, so if dieting every single day is hard for you, try an intermittent on/off style diet instead.
- Switch olive oil for MCT. A study comparing olive oil with medium chain triacylglycerols (MCT) oil found that MCT oil improves weight loss compared to olive oil. One of the most readily available MCT oils is coconut oil.
- Drink caffeine and go wild! This study found that combining caffeine with epinephrine (AKA adrenaline) produces significant reductions in fat mass. You can spike your adrenaline by taking up an action sport that has a small amount of risk or scares you a little. Mountain biking and snowboarding, for example.
There are many ways to be active and eat healthily. Although it may take longer to burn off fat the old-fashioned way, it will be much healthier and long-lasting for your body than the plastic wrap overnight hack!
Can you wear a body wrap overnight?
Yes, you can, but it will be incredibly uncomfortable and will lead to dehydration. It is not advisable! If you really want to try the body wrap hack, we recommend keeping it on only for a short interval.
How long should you wear a stomach wrap?
It really depends on who you ask. As there is no scientific evidence that it works for fat loss, there’s no real answer. Some people recommend keeping it on for an hour or so, then taking a break. Others have tried wearing it overnight.
Does waist training help you lose weight?
A waist trainer is basically a modern-day corset. You may lose weight by shedding water weight and bloating. The tight squeeze on your stomach can also kill your appetite, thus you will lose weight by eating less. However the waist training process itself doesn’t burn any fat, even if it does help you form an hourglass figure.
Are body wraps dangerous?
Body wraps, whether they’re official ones or DIY plastic wrap ones, can be dangerous if you don’t rehydrate your body. As body wraps cause you to lose excess water (not fat) they dehydrate your body quickly. It’s important to replenish this hydration!
Is sleeping with plastic wrap around your stomach effective for weight loss?
Sleeping with plastic wrap around your stomach causes you to lose water weight. In the short term, this will make you lighter on the scales… however it doesn’t burn any fat, and after rehydrating your body, you’ll gain that water weight again.