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A good night’s sleep gets your body and brain both rest and the ability to repair and restore cells throughout your body’s organ systems. But quality sleep can also help your body burn calories while you rest as your body rejuvenates and your brain moves through different stages of sleep. While you rest, your body is still burning calories at it’s basal metabolic rate which differs for each person depending upon their age, weight, height, and health. 

A simple equation can help you calculate your own average number of calories burned per hour of sleep at night. This measurement is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR. Using your age in years (A), weight in pounds (W), and height in inches (H), you can input your data into the appropriate formula below to determine your BMR.

  • MEN: 66 + (6.2 x W) + (12.7 x H) – (6.76 x A) = BMR 
  • WOMEN: 655.1 + (4.35 x W) + (4.7 x H) – (4.7 x A) = BMR

While most adults burn anywhere from 20 to 60 calories per hour while asleep depending upon their weight, height and age, you can boost your calories burned while sleeping with a few simple lifestyle changes.


Decrease Room Temperature

Despite our desire for warmth and comfort while sleeping, keeping the room temperature at a lower setting will actually help to burn more calories while asleep. This is due to the fact that the lower air temperature will trigger a response from your body to increase the calories burned in order to generate heat and regulate your body temperature. 

Try making small changes to your sleeping environment to create a cooler air temperature. If decreasing the thermostat isn’t practical, you can opt to add a small fan to circulate cooler air or even leave a window partially opened on cooler evenings. Additionally, resist the urge to pile on extra blankets and instead layer your sleepwear and to recapture your body heat.

Sleep More Consecutive Hours

Many adults and today function in a state of chronic sleep deprivation. Not only does this have negative effects on brain function during waking hours, it also robs your brain of much needed REM sleep. While in REM sleep, your brain uses more calories; sleeping for more consecutive hours will allow your brain to move through the full sleep cycle and get adequate REM sleep, thus burning more calories overall.

More consecutive hours asleep also allows your body to continue burning calories while resting. Using average BMR range of 20-60 calories per hour, an additional 1 hour sleep a night multiplied by 7 nights could potentially burn anywhere from 140-420 calories a week.

Tips for Improving Sleep

Getting more sleep can be challenging, but following some simple steps can help improve your sleep and allow your body to gain the rest it needs while burning calories. Tips for better sleep include:

  • Spending 20-30 minutes a day exercising
  • Spending time outdoors in the sun and fresh air to help your body regulate melatonin levels
  • Reducing caffeine intake later in the day

Burning calories while sleeping is a win-win for both your brain and your body!

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