Every day you burn calories according to the activity you are doing but how many calories do you burn when sleeping? You may be surprised just how many calories you do burn when you are asleep. The things you do during waking hours does have an effect your metabolism. Your metabolism and a few other factors will determine calories burned during sleeping.
Your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate is a measurement that can help you calculate the energy you expend while at rest (not necessarily sleeping) while in a neutral state after your body has finished digestion and in a thermally neutral state. Knowing your BMR can help you get a feel for how many calories your body burns just by “being”. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) are used interchangeably but they are technically different as BMR uses a precise formula and RMR is calculated by knowing a few key variables (height, weight, age, gender). The BMR calculator includes activity level.
The BMR formula
Women’s BMR formula – 655+(4.5 x weight in lbs.) +(4.7 x height in inches) – 4.7 x age in years)
Men’s BMR formula – 66 +(6.23 x weight in lbs.) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
Add in activity level
If you are sedentary (little to no exercise) BMR x 1.2
If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) BMR x 1.375
If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) BMR x 1.55
If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/week) BMR x 1.725
If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports/physical job or 2 x training) BMR x 1.9
You can also use this calculator:Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Daily Calorie Needs – Calculator Online (Harris-Benedict equation)
Increase your calorie burn while sleeping
You will burn calories every day whether you are just sitting, driving, reading, running, eating, walking or whatever you are doing even sleeping. Your BMR accounts for approximately 75% of your daily caloric burn.
For sleeping, on average you burn about .42 calories per pound of body weight for every hour you sleep. This means that a 200 lb. person burns about 84 calories for every hour of sleep. A 120 lb person burns about 50 calories per hour of sleep. In an 8 hour period of sleeping a 120 lb. person will burn approximately 400 calories. There are things that affect this rate.
While you are sleeping you are digesting any food you have consumed during waking hours. This activity takes energy. If you eat a large meal just before bedtime you may not sleep well as you may be uncomfortable and have heartburn or indigestion. Digestion is a form of catabolism (breaking down) and needs the energy to get the food into a form the body can absorb. You can increase your metabolism by spreading your meals throughout the day into 5 or 6 small meals. This will also help keep you satisfied. Drink plenty of water to aid digestion and boost metabolism. Cold water is best as your body uses energy to bring it to body temperature. It is also thought that green tea help increase metabolism and also milk possibly.
There are 5 stages of sleep and each phase you go deeper and deeper. There are basic phases of sleep – REM and non-REM sleep. When you are in REM you burn more calories. Your mind is active and your eyes move back and forth. You dream during this phase and requires energy to do so. It is important you get to this level of sleep. The 5 stages last around 90 to 110 minutes. You cycle like this during the hours you are sleeping. Getting a good nights sleep will help you burn more calories while sleeping. How sleep affects metabolism goes more in-depth why we need a good nights sleep.
If you sleep in a cool environment you will burn more calories also. Your body will work to maintain body heat. Research has shown that in response to cold white fat cells take on the role of brown fat and burn energy. In a recent study, after a month of mild cold participants had a 42% increase in brown fat and a 10% increase in fat metabolism. They also had improved insulin sensitivity. After prolonged exposure to mild cold, they also had significant changes in the metabolic hormones Leptin and Adiponectin. They did not have changes in caloric intake or body composition.
How much lean muscle you have is a very significant factor in your metabolism. After the age of 30 or so, we start a downward trend of losing muscle mass. Those who are physically inactive will lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade. This is called age-related sarcopenia. Even if you are active you will still lose muscle mass as time passes. It is important that you strength train with weights or resistance bands.
Building muscle will do wonders for your metabolism not to mention all the other benefits such as looking great, keeping you strong and agile, good stamina and a host of other benefits.Training with weights is the key to metabolism boosting your body to burn fat all the time 24 hours a day.
To get to the answer of how many calories do you burn when sleeping, multiply your body weight by .042. Then multiply that by how many hours you sleep. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs. then 150 x 0 .42 = 63 calories per hour. If you sleep 8 hours then 6.3 x 8 = 504 calories while sleeping! This figure is only a rule of thumb. There are many variables including gender. However, just by knowing a few things like the ones I have mentioned above, you can increase your calorie burn by implementing some of the suggestions.
If you are a woman over 50 I cannot stress enough the importance of building muscle. It is never too late to start.
If you have an experience you would like to share or if you have questions or comments on this article please leave me a comment below.