How many calories we burn is an age-old question. Everyone is hoping for a magical explanation, for something as ridiculous as a study that says sleeping more will help you burn more calories. Well, it just may be your lucky day. Believe it or not, there is actually some truth in that statement. Even a sedentary activity like sleeping still requires the body to burn calories; there are more than a few organs to maintain, after all (and repairs to attend to, for that matter). In fact, a deep sleep burns more calories than a number of waking activities, notably watching TV. Of course, more factors than I can count attribute to a person’s ability to burn, or not burn, calories while sleeping. We’ll look at as many of these as we can, and then we’ll look at some things that anyone can do to burn more calories in bed. If you want to get skinny effortlessly, discover the healthy secrets here for how to lose weight without dieting.
There are so many variables that go into the calorie-burning equation: age, sex, weight, metabolism, diet, and physical and nonphysical daily habits, to name a few. The two most important factors in determining how many calories you burn while sleeping are weight and number of hours slept. On average, a person burns between 0.4 and 0.5 calories per pound, per hour. For example, a 100 lb. person burns 40-50 calories per hour. In eight hours of sleep, this person will burn approximately 360 calories. Not bad, but also not great. That said, we are talking about a 100 lb. person. A two-hundred pound person would burn 680 calories in the same amount of time. Of course, this is a matter of relativity, and calories are burned in a proportional manner.
Oh, but there’s more. Much more to the science of calorie-burning sleep. To begin with, muscle mass is more or less the end all, be all. Consider this: a pound of muscle burns 50 calories a day on average. A pound of fat? Just nine. The truth hurts, my friends. A leaner, more muscular person is going to reap the same rewards in sleep; up to five times the calories burned per pound.
Then again, some people are simply blessed with phenomenal metabolism, and at the end of the day, this is going to burn more calories than muscle mass. Fortunately for some, and unfortunately for others, an active person (i.e. a more muscular person) usually has a higher metabolism than an inactive person (i.e. less muscular person). So not only do more active people burn more energy through activity, they boost their metabolism while they’re at it, which in turn burns more calories when they aren’t active (when they’re sleeping, for example). In fact, sleep is when the body secretly goes to work and repairs damaged or worn out parts, and replaces the energy lost in those cells. Thus, an active person is going to burn calories replenishing its stores, while an inactive person is going to be stuck with a surplus. But don’t worry, and don’t turn to pills. You can lose weight nature’s way with international health coach Marlene Watson-Tara.
Stressed? Don’t be.
Being active and blessed with fast metabolism is negated by stress. Yes, sleeping in a room that is too cold or too hot or that has itchy sheets will also detract from your bodies calorie burning abilities, but stress is the real killer. Stress increases your levels of cortisol, and cortisol lowers your metabolism. So take a chill pill and sleep easy. You’ll burn more calories and, if the studies are accurate, live about ten years longer, too.
Burning Up (Not Just At Night)
You’ve probably already figured out some of these by now, but there are a number of ways to take matters into your own hands and increase the amount of calories you burn every night. You will never be able to calculate exactly how many more or less calories you are burning, but rest assured, these are proven ways to give your body a boost, and not just at night.
- First, you need to get the best sleep possible. Going in and out of sleep is not going to burn the calories you want, and of course you won’t wake up feeling great either. The best sleep environment is one that is slightly cool. I’ve always preferred a cool room to a hot one, but I know plenty of people who like to sleep without sheets. So take it easy on the heater in winter, and on the AC in summer. A cool room will give you the best night’s sleep, and subsequently the healthiest.
- Second, get enough sleep. You might be thinking, “But if I burn more calories when I’m awake, shouldn’t I sleep less?” The answer is “no.” Getting a proper amount of sleep (at least seven to nine hours) will not only burn more calories during the night, it will allow your body to fully repair itself and subsequently burn more calories during the day, too. And that is a bonafide fact. As is lack of sleep being one of the main causes of weight gain. So don’t feel guilty sleeping in. It’s good for ya!
- Third, stay active. Even if you’re sitting at a desk all day, get up routinely and take a walk down a corridor or two. This will help you maintain muscle mass and increase metabolism, and we already know what that means. Of course, some people aren’t just satisfied with maintaining muscle, they are trying to gain weight: well, you’ve come to the right place for that, too: learn how to gain muscle weight and increase energy.
- Fourth, consume alcohol early (and with moderation). Who would have thought day-drinking was healthier than putting a few back after work? Drinking before bed drastically slows down your metabolism, and when the alcohol is finally metabolized, this often disrupts your sleep cycle.
- Fifth, and as already mentioned, just relax. If life has you stressed, do whatever it takes to sleep easy: get a massage from your partner, drink a liter of hot tea, bathe in almond milk. Just get to sleep!
But hey, I’m as sick of calorie counting as the next guy (or gal). Here’s something we can all agree on: a weight loss training program to look sexy, minus counting calories. Now that’s the kind of math I can get used to!