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How to Calculate Calories Burned while Sleeping

Jun 9, 2010

The number of calories burned depends on a person's level of physical nonphysical activities. A nonphysical activity like sleeping still requires the body to burn fats and sugar, using energy in the process. How many calories are burned during sleep depends on several factors. Weight, age, sex, metabolism and environment affect the rate, hence, people differ in the amount of calories burned each day.

Calculating Calories Burned

During sleep, a person's weight and the number of hours he/she sleeps determine how many calories are burned. Normally, a person burns about 0.42 calories for every pound in one hour of sleep. For instance, a 150 lb. person burns about 63 calories in one hour. If this person sleeps for eight hours total, he/she burns 504 calories for the whole duration. Just multiply the average rate with every pound of weight and number of hours of sleep. Therefore, the heavier a person is, as well as the longer a person sleeps, the more calories are burned.

Other Factors Involved

Muscle mass impacts the rate of burning calories. Even while sleeping, a person with greater muscle mass burns more fats and sugar, compared to a person with average muscle mass, or worse, a person with more fats. A single pound of muscle consumes 50 calories for one whole day, while a pound of fat consumes only nine calories.

Metabolism also plays a key role in calorie burning. An active person requires more energy and burns more calories. On the other hand, a person with slower metabolism rate consumes less energy. It is during sleep that a person replenishes what he/she has lost during the day. Because an inactive person does not spend much energy during the day, there is not much energy to replenish when he/she sleeps.

In a cooler environment, the body needs more energy to produce heat. In the same way, stress or discomfort that causes restless sleep increases the level of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal cortex, which lowers metabolism.

Sleeping and Burning Calories

What does it take to burn more calories even while sleeping? Here are some thoughts to consider based on the factors that affect calorie burning.

  • A restful and ample amount of sleep (7 to 9 hours) leads to more calories burned both during daytime and at nighttime. Therefore, the bottom line is: you need to have a restful sleep in order for you to burn more calories. Lack of sleep, therefore, can lead to weight gain.
  • Turn the heater off during winter, and turn the air conditioner on during a hot weather. A cool environment induces a comfortable and restful sleep.
  • Keep an active lifestyle to build more muscle mass and help increase metabolism. That way, the body can burn more calories even while resting.
  • Relax. If you have trouble sleeping, give yourself a warm bath or drink a relaxing tea like lavender or chamomile.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages before going to sleep. It slows down your metabolism rate.

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