Nap lovers and sleep aficionados, rejoice. Did you know your body burns calories while you’re sleeping? Sleep is good for you in many ways, but what you may not know is that your body can burn calories while doing nothing — like resting.
Do You Burn Calories While Sleeping?
The fact that calories are burned while sleeping may seem surprising, but the science behind it is straightforward. Calories are burned at rest because even though you might think you’re not doing anything, your body still uses energy as you sleep. Now, don’t expect to lose weight overnight — in fact, there’s not exactly a proven way for how to lose weight overnight — but the answer to the question “Do you burn calories while you sleep?” is yes.
How Does Sleeping Burn Calories?
Before asking, “How many calories do you burn sleeping?”, it’s important to understand why calories are burned while sleeping. Research shows that many people associate burning calories with aerobic or physically taxing jobs; however, you don’t actually need to be engaged in strenuous activity to burn calories.
Your body uses calories all the time. “Energy use is particularly high during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.” Your brain is highly active during this time, and you burn glucose, your body’s source of fuel. REM sleep also can elevate your heart rate and blood pressure.
Additionally, your body works on repairing the damage done at the cellular level as you sleep. This could be repairing muscles after exercising or digesting food to turn into fuel for the following day.
How Many Calories Can Sleeping Burn?
How many calories do you burn while sleeping? The answer is that it completely varies from person to person. How many calories burned while sleeping depends on multiple factors. The amount of energy you use during sleep depends on a number of factors, including your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which determines the amount of energy your body needs to maintain its most basic functions.
That includes breathing, blood circulation, and keeping your organs running. How many calories do you burn a day doing nothing? You can’t exactly ask your body that question, but here are some factors that go into the math.
Factors for Burning Calories While Sleeping
When wondering, “How many calories do I burn at rest?”, it’s important to consider your weight. Your weight plays a huge role in determining the answer to “How many calories do I burn sleeping?” How much you weigh plays a role in setting your BMR, and in general, the more you weigh, the more energy your body uses. The more pounds you are carrying, the more energy you use — and the more calories burnt.
For example, take a person who weighs 125 pounds, stating that they will burn approximately 38 calories per hour sleeping. Multiply that by eight to nine hours of sleep, and that 125-pound person could burn up to 342 calories just for snoozing.
Likewise, a person who weighs 150 pounds might burn 46 calories an hour, or up to 414 calories a night. A person who weighs 185 pounds might burn around 56 calories per hour or up to 504 calories for the night. Finding these numbers is easy if you calculate your own BMR.
Calculate Your BMR
This formula will help you answer the question of “How many calories do I burn doing nothing?” A formula for calculating BMR uses an equation that factors in your sex, weight, and age. Use inches for height and pounds for weight:
Women’s BMR = 66 + (6.2 x weight) + (12.7 x height) – (6.76 x age)
Men’s BMR = 655.1 + (4.35 x weight) + (4.7 x height) – (4.7 x age)
By this math a 35-year-old man who weighs 175 pounds and is 5 feet 11 inches tall would be 1,816 calories. A 35-year-old woman who weighs 135 pounds and is 5 feet, 5 inches tall would be 1,383 calories. So, how many calories do YOU burn doing nothing?
Other Ways to Burn Fat While You Sleep
There are no “magic” foods to eat before bed to lose weight. It is suggested that you consume a casein shake before bed. That’s because casein is a gradually digested protein that can take your body around six to eight hours to break down. By this reasoning, your metabolism will be active throughout the night.
Another way to passively burn calories is by getting more sleep. The more hours of sleep you get, the more calories burnt while sleeping. You can also boost your metabolism by adding in a little resistance-training workout session before bed. According to a journal published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition, people who perform resistance exercises may experience a higher resting metabolic rate for hours after their workout.
Here are a couple of other things to know:
- Eating late doesn’t slow your metabolism. Healthline states that it isn’t necessarily eating a meal before bed that can cause a weight gain or slowed metabolism; rather, it’s mindless snacking. However, it’s best to avoid consuming a large meal before bed.
- Exercise daily and incorporate strength training. The more muscle mass you have, the more energy you’ll burn. Plus, exercising and being active will help you feel more tired at bedtime.
- Be cautious with supplements. Be wary of supplements that claim to boost metabolism. Some may contain unsafe ingredients, and some may not even work. It’s a good rule of thumb to discuss any supplements you’re interested in talking with your doctor first.
In general, the answer to the question of “How many calories does sleeping burn?” is quite vague. Depending on your sex, age, and weight — as well as how much sleep you get in a night — it could be anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred calories. And don’t take what you know now as an excuse to sleep all the time — continue to exercise, eat right, and treat your body well. After all, it’s the only one you have!