Burning calories while asleep? Sign me up!
If you did not know already, good news! While you are getting your nightly sleep, you actually burn calories, and even more than you think. That’s because your body always stays active even if you are not aware of it. While you’re sleeping, your body speeds up cell repair and cell growth while your brain processes and stores the information you have accumulated throughout your long and busy day.
But just how many calories do you burn?
It depends on your body weight, the amount of time you are asleep, and your body temperature. According to nutrition coach Cathy Posey, people burn an average of 0.42 calories an hour per pound of body weight while they sleep. So if you want to know how many calories you burn while cozily dreaming in your bed, just multiply your weight in pounds by the 0.42. Then, multiply that amount by the number of hours you are asleep. There you go! Simple as that.
To give you an example, a person who weighs 150 pounds might burn around 46 calories an hour or between 322 and 414 calories a night. A person who weighs 185 pounds might burn around 56 calories or between 392 and 504 calories for a full night of sleep. How great is that?
There are ways you can burn even more calories while being asleep:
1. Wear cooler pajamas, or sleep in the buff. Sleeping cooler can boost metabolism and aid in weight loss. When cool, your body works harder to raise core temperature to a stable 98.6 degrees, which torches calories.
2. Fit in protein before bed. Florida State University researchers found that men who had a shake with 30 grams of protein before bed experienced a higher resting energy expenditure compared to those who ate nothing before bed.
3. Sleep in complete darkness. According to a study published in the Journal of Pineal Research, when you are in complete darkness, your body produces the hormone melatonin, which not only makes you feel sleepy, but can aid in the production of calorie-burning brown fat.
4. Eat smaller dinners. If you eat large meals or if you eat a meal too close to when you go to bed, it will take your body a long time to metabolize it. When we are in a deep stage of sleep, our brain emits a growth hormone, and if you eat late at night the growth hormone will store the food still in your system as fat instead of fuel.
5. Cut out alcohol. During REM sleep is when our bodies can burn the most calories. If you drink alcohol close to your bedtime your body will work to metabolize the alcohol as you sleep, keeping you from achieving a state of REM.
While a good night of sleep can help you lose extra calories, don’t expect sleeping to replace that hour of exercise. After all, that’s just your sleeping body burning the number of calories in eight hours that your awake body could burn in one.
Remember: sleeping is essential, but staying fit and healthy is great for your body too!