How Many Calories Do You Burn While Sleeping?

how many calories do you burn sleeping

In our desire to lose weight, we often try to change our lifestyles and incorporate strict exercise schedules, mental pep-talks, and pre-planned meals. We regularly check our Fitbits, buy expensive running shoes, and try out yoga and home workouts on YouTube. All of that works when done correctly, which it rarely is, but the question is, do we need to put in that much work? What if getting a good night’s rest was the key to melting away those pounds? 

As incredible as it may sound, there is an increasing number of reports by researchers and scientists suggesting that we could make losing weight much more manageable by only getting some quality sleep and improving our sleep hygiene.

Do You Burn Calories When You Sleep?

When you think about ways to burn calories, sleeping probably doesn’t make it onto the list. However, your body still needs to burn them to survive, even during the night. Some studies have shown that the brain uses up to 20% of the calories your body burns during the day

Since the brain doesn’t shut-off during the night, it continues to use roughly the same number of calories. The same goes for the rest of your body.

Your vital organs need to remain functioning to keep up the processes that allow you to stay alive throughout the night. We’d all be in big trouble if our bodies suddenly decided to stop burning calories while we sleep.

do you burn calories when you sleepCalories Burned Sleeping Calculator

It’s a bit tough to track the exact number of calories burned while sleeping. The number is highly variable and depends significantly on things like course genetics, daytime activities, and sleep stages. That being said, there’s a solid baseline to start from when trying to determine how many calories do you burn sleeping. The bad news is that you’re going to have to do a bit of math, as it all comes down to a formula.

We start with our basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is the number of calories your body uses while resting. It varies from person to person, depending on their age, height, mass, and gender, but the average is about 45 calories/hour. Next, we multiply this number by the average number of hours you sleep every night, and voila! You have your average calories burned sleeping.

Factors That Affect How Many Calories You Burn While Sleeping

There are many factors at play when it comes to the number of calories you burn during the night. These include things you do throughout the day, how healthy your diet is, what kind of body composition you currently have, etc. We’ll try to break down some of the most critical factors below.

Amount of sleep

The first factor that influences how many calories you burn while sleeping is the amount of sleep you’re getting every night. Research has shown that people who sleep more end up losing more body fat, which is a bit counterintuitive. You’d think that if you’re awake, you’re moving around more and therefore burning more calories, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. 

The reason behind this seems to be that when your body is awake for more hours, your metabolism switches into ‘conservation mode’. In simple terms, your metabolism downshifts when you sleep less, so your body is going to burn fewer calories because it feels that it needs to preserve them to keep you going. 

When you sleep more, on the other hand, your body seems to shift into ‘overdrive.’ Researchers have determined that sleeping three hours longer can contribute to burning up to an additional 400 calories a day. If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep, maybe you don’t have the best mattress.

Room Temperature

Studies have shown that when you sleep in a cooler environment over a long period, your metabolism cranks up. It’s all about how your body handles brown and white fat, and how your metabolism and internal processes assimilate and adapt to treat different conditions. 

calories burned sleepingExercise

We know. This is the opposite of what you expected when you started reading this article. You thought, “Oh cool, the people at My Sleep Bot are telling me I should sleep more to get lean. I can do that.” And then out of nowhere, we get exercise back into the mix. But the truth is, there’s nothing on this planet that’s going to help you burn more calories at rest than having those glorious muscles. 

According to studies, every ten pounds of muscle you put on burns an additional 30 calories a day compared to the same amount of fat. Therefore, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’re going to burn, and you’re going to get into a positive feedback loop where it’s going to become more challenging to accumulate fat. Also, when you pile on all those muscles, you might need to take a look at a mattress for heavy people.

Hydration

Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. One of the significant issues that many people have is that they don’t drink enough water. On top of that, most people don’t necessarily have the healthiest diets, so they eat a lot of processed foods containing too much salt. 

What that all amounts to is your body hanging on to water and trying to retain it for as long as possible, making you look bloated and weigh more. But by giving yourself the proper amounts of hydration, you can accomplish something that seems counterintuitive at first, which is that you’ll start losing that extra water weight fast.

calories burned while sleeping and exercising

How does Body Burn Calories While You Sleep?

Your fat tissue is full of important biological molecules called lipids. These are long and stringy compounds made of hydrogen and oxygen and they are great at storing energy in their chemical bonds. When the particles are broken apart, they release the energy stored in their bonds. This is the process we refer to as “burning fat, But when you burn calories, where does that material – the actual fat that jiggles around on your belly – go? 

It’s a common misconception in the fitness community that when you burn fat, all that energy is converted to heat. This is not possible, however, due to a simple thing called ‘conservation of mass’, this physical law states that the same amount of material always comes out of a reaction as goes into it

So, where does the fat go? It turns out you exhale it. For every pound of mass that you burn, more than 80% is lost as carbon dioxide that you breathe out, and the other 20% is lost as water through sweat and urine.

Conclusion

Even while you’re asleep or resting in any way, your body continues to burn calories in order to maintain a wide range of critical bodily functions. We refer to this process as your basal metabolism, and it incorporates all of the essential processes that keep you alive, such as brain function, blood circulation, and breathing. 

Because your basal metabolic rate depends on a lot of factors such as genetics, body size, and age, it’s different for everyone. The bottom line of question about how many calories does sleeping burn, is that your body keeps chugging away at all hours of the night, even (and perhaps especially) while you’re dreaming.