Sleep & Health

How Many Calories Do You Burn While Sleeping

Have you ever wondered if you can burn calories while catching Z’s? Well, according to Dr. Mary Ellen Wells, the director of Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science at the University of North Carolina Medical School, it’s definitely a thing. Apparently, even when we're sleeping, our brains consume over 20% of the calories we consume each day. Keep your pillows handy, though, because the key query here is: how many calories can you really burn while you sleep?

"The number of calories burned during sleep is not as high as you might think!" was the shocking statement made by Dr. Wells. It turns out that your daily activity level and genetic makeup, among other things, affect how many calories you burn during the various stages of sleep. Do not worry, there is a straightforward formula that can be used to approximate the number of calories you can burn when dreaming.

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CONTENTS

  • How to Calculate the Calories You’ve Consumed During Sleep?
  • Which Sleep Stage Can Actually Burn More Calories?
  • How to Increase Calories Burned During Sleep?

How to Calculate the Calories You’ve Consumed During Sleep?

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Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), is what counts as your resting metabolic rate when it comes to burning calories. It seems that you burn roughly 45 calories an hour on average. Here's the lowdown if you're eager to burn those 45 calories while catching some Z's.

Dr. Christopher Winter, a sleep medicine researcher, reveals that BMR is measured after 8 hours of sleep, in a fasting state, and at a neutral temperature. This is thought to be the best situation in which to determine how much energy your body uses at rest. Your body performs over 95% of its typical resting tasks when you sleep.

Using Dr. Winter's calculation, you can now determine how many calories you burn while you sleep: (calories burned per hour or BMR) x 0.95 (equal to 95%) x hours of sleep. Based on the 45-calorie per hour figure provided before, the number of calories burned in 8 hours of sleep would be 45 x 0.95 x 8 = 342 calories.

Which Sleep Stage Can Actually Burn More Calories?

Contrary to common assumptions, sleep is actually a period of intense brain activity. During this time, the brain and various physiological processes might still be functioning during this period, which could explain why different sleep stages consume varied amounts of calories.

According to Dr. Christopher Winter, the brain goes through four different stages of sleep every ninety minutes: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement). In a similar vein, the body's natural metabolic processes run nonstop during the night. As a result, the body burns the most calories during the REM sleep period because it needs a significant amount of oxygen to function properly.

How to Increase Calories Burned During Sleep?

Reducing the Room Temperature

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It turns out that reducing the room temperature could be the solution. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine states that sleeping in a room that is 15 to 20 degrees Celsius can optimize the amount of calories burned. You would wonder, though, why. According to Dr. Christopher Winter, sleeping in a colder room makes your body expend more energy to stay warm. It's like doing a covert little workout while you sleep!

Getting Enough Sleep

You should pay attention to the temperature as well as how much sleep you're receiving. Sleep deprivation can have a major negative impact on metabolism. Your body burns calories more slowly to conserve energy for daily functions the less sleep you get. Therefore, getting more sleep equates to burning more calories.

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