Studies have proven that you can burn an average of 40 to 55 calories per hour by simply sleeping. Although sleeping is a low-impact activity, it consumes a lot of energy from the body.
The amount of calories your body can burn during sleep depends on an array of factors, including your basal metabolic rate, age, gender, diet, quality of sleep, and more. This article discusses these factors and more about burning calories during sleep.
How does Your Body Burn Calories During Sleep?
Your body promotes cell growth, repair, and rejuvenation during sleep. These processes use up energy, causing your body to burn calories during sleep. However, the quality of your sleep affects how your body performs these functions.
Most of the calorie-burning processes during sleep happen in the Rapid Eye Movement (REMI) sleep stage. During the REM sleep stage, the brain is more active, and the body breaks down more glucose. This usually happens during the second half of sleep when glucose metabolism increases. This means the more quality sleep you get, the more calories your body burns.
However, oversleeping won't help you achieve your ideal body weight goals. Instead, it has reverse effects on your resting metabolic rate.
Resting metabolic rate is the amount of energy your body needs to function while resting. So, even if you spend more time in REM sleep while oversleeping, your body won't break down more calories. On the contrary, instead of breaking down more calories, it preserves calories to store energy when your body becomes active.
Many sleepers don't reach the REM sleep stage because of poor sleep hygiene, poor quality bedding, some illnesses, and medications, among other reasons. This results in poor quality sleep, which affects their basal metabolic rate, and lowers the number of calories burned while sleeping. This is the reason behind the popular opinion that sleeping causes weight gain.
How Many Calories do You Burn Sleeping?
There’s no exact answer to the question: how many calories do you burn sleeping? This is because the number of calories burned during sleep varies from one person to another, depending on their basal metabolic rate.
An average person burns roughly 50 calories in an hour while sleeping. That means, if they have seven hours of sleep in a day, they can burn 350 calories.
Basal Metabolic Rate Explained
Your body converts food into energy through a process called metabolism. It continually uses this energy to maintain the basic metabolic processes, such as blood circulation, breathing, cell repair, growth, and brain activity. These processes are commonly referred to as basal metabolism, and account for 60% to 75% of the body's energy expenditure. The brain alone accounts for 20%-25% of the energy used in a day through burning glucose on its own.
The basal metabolism processes continue to function even as you fall sleep. This also means that your body still burns calories without daily physical activity. The amount of calories burned through basal metabolism in a day is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
What Factors Impact the Number of Calories Burned Sleeping?
Several factors affect the number of calories you burn while sleeping. Examples include:
Height and Weight
Bigger bodies need more energy to maintain the basal metabolism processes. As a result, taller and heavier people have a higher BMR than shorter and lighter people. In addition, taller people need more oxygen supply through their blood to reach all the parts of their bodies. For this reason, their hearts and lungs work more than that of average people.
Men have higher testosterone levels that enable their bodies to build muscles easily. As a result, they record a faster BMR, given that they have more muscle mass than women.
Physically fit individuals have more muscle mass than their unfit counterparts. Muscle mass increases the body's basal metabolism rate, enabling it to burn more calories.
The metabolic rate in children is higher than in adults. This is because children are at the peak of their growth and active stage in life. Therefore, they use more energy for physical and metabolic activities in a day than older adults. On the other hand, the metabolic rate reduces with age because of the decrease in growth, and the regeneration needs in older people.
Poor sleep quality may be caused by a bad mattress, illness, sleep disorder, pain, and other factors. These problems can affect how your body functions, including its metabolism.
Firstly, sleep deprivation elevates the levels of certain hormones in your body, such as cortisol, that preserves extra body fat. Secondly, sleep loss increases your appetite and the risk of bad eating habits. As a result, your body develops poor digestion, leading to a low metabolic rate.
Fatty foods are more difficult to digest, and can slow your metabolism. Eating healthy improves your metabolism and sleep quality while increasing your energy levels.
Some health conditions and medications can lower or raise your metabolic rate. In addition, they may affect how you sleep at night, preventing you from reaching the REM sleeping stage. It becomes even more difficult for the body to burn calories while you sleep when that happens.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause, lactation and other hormonal conditions can also alter your basal metabolic rate. For example, hormonal changes during menopause cause nighttime sweating, leading to sleep disruptions. These changes also cause slower metabolism, and reduce the number of calories your body burns during sleep.
How to Calculate Calories Burned During Sleep
Before calculating how many calories you burn while sleeping, you need to calculate your basal metabolic rate.
You can calculate your BMR using the Harris-Benedict equation, which factors in your height, weight, gender, and age.
Given the several factors that affect your BMR, the results of these calculations are only estimates, and not the exact amount of calories burned while sleeping. More accurate BMR results involve tests using special equipment to determine your body's oxygen and carbon dioxide levels over a certain period.
The Harris-Benedict formula for calculating BMR is different for men and women. For men, the formula is as follows:
BMR = 66.5 + (13.8 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)
The women's formula is:
BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)
Assuming you are a 40-year-old male weighing 75kgs and 160 cm tall, you can burn approximately 1,630 calories through basal metabolism in a day. If you are a woman with similar specifications, you can burn a total of 1,851 calories a day. These are the results of the basal metabolic rate while awake for 24 hours.
Using your BMR, you can calculate how many calories your body burns when you spend an hour sleeping. All you have to do is divide the BMR with 24 hours to get the hourly rate, and then multiply the answer by 0.85, the lowest metabolic rate during sleep.
So if you sleep for eight hours a day, and your BMR is approximately 1,500 calories per day, you can burn about 53 calories per hour during sleep, translating to about 425 calories per 8 hours of sleep.
Sleep Tips to Burn More Calories
Here's how to increase the number of calories you burn in a day.
Follow an Exercising Routine
When you exercise, you lose weight and increase body mass. This makes your body gain more muscle mass, improving how you sleep at night. As a result, your metabolism rate also increases.
Improve Your Diet
Eating healthy improves your metabolism rates during sleep. As a result, your body absorbs more nutrients, and provides the brain with the energy it needs to break down glucose during REM sleep.
In addition to healthy eating, avoid eating large quantities of food in the evening, or too late at night. When you eat a lot of food in the evening, your brain releases a growth hormone that prompts your body to store more fat rather than burn it.
Avoid Stimulants a Few Hours to Bed
Stimulants such as coffee and alcohol disrupt your sleep pattern, keeping you awake for longer hours during the night. To prevent this, consider taking such stimulants earlier during the day to give your body sufficient time for metabolism.
Dress Down During Bed
Studies have shown that sleeping naked has a lot of benefits, including improving the metabolism rate of a sleeper. In addition, dressing down at bedtime keeps your body cool, reducing sleep disruptions caused by overheating and over-sweating.
Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene involves creating a healthy sleep routine where you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Here are some tips for creating a healthy sleep routine to burn more calories:
- take a shower before bed to cool your body
- avoid using your mobile phone or other blue light-emitting devices at bedtime
- limit daytime naps to 30 minutes or less
- avoid caffeine and alcohol
- keep bright light, noise, and other sleep distractions away from your room.
Sleep on a Good Mattress
The quality of your mattress is directly proportional to your sleep. An old, saggy mattress lacks support and cushioning to make you comfortable and relieve pressure points at night, resulting in constant sleep disruptions and body pain.
Do All Sleep Stages Burn the Same Amount of Calories?
Your body doesn't burn the same amount of calories in all the stages of sleep. For example, the Rapid Eye Movement sleep stage is the energy-intensive stage of sleep involving rapid eye movements and brain activity. As a result, the body's glucose metabolism rate increases during this stage.
Can You Increase the Number of Calories Burnt During Sleep?
You can burn more calories at night by improving your diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep. These practices improve your basal metabolic rate, allowing your body to burn more calories.
How Latex For Less Sleep Accessories can Help
Quality sleep is vital to every human being, no matter the final goal. So besides improving your sleep hygiene, you need to ensure that you are sleeping on the right bedding to promote deep sleep and rejuvenate your body.
Latex For Less bedding contains high-end materials that promote healthy and comfortable sleep. This bedding relaxes your body, and attains deep sleep, promoting a healthier metabolism rate.
Here's how different sleep accessories from Latex For Less can improve the number of calories you burn during sleep.
This top-rated latex mattress is made using 100% natural latex, pure cotton, and wool. The latex is highly responsive, breathable, supportive, and comfortable, ensuring that you sleep comfortably every night. In addition, these materials create a breathable layer that regulates your core body temperature, and adds more cushioning to the mattress.
Because Latex For Less cares about your comfort, the company designed this mattress with two firmness levels. On one side, the mattress is firm, while the other side is medium-firm. As a result, you can change the way your mattress feels every night by flipping it over.
The Latex For Less topper offers a budget-friendly way of changing how the surface of your mattress feels. This topper also improves your bed's breathability to keep you cool at night, and avoid sleep disruptions that prevent you from having a good night's sleep.
Enjoy a peaceful and comfortable night's sleep with this premium pillow made with 100% natural shredded latex. Whether you prefer the shredded natural latex, or the solid natural option, Latex For Less pillows are designed to provide maximum comfort and support for better sleep.
The Latex For Less adjustable base provides the ultimate support and relaxation for a good night's rest to customize your comfort further. It comes with an adjustable base that inclines up to 60 degrees, and a foot incline up to 45 degrees. And that's not all - you'll love the three preset positions: Zero Gravity, Anti-Snore, and Flat, and two programmable positions for the ultimate sleep experience.