The longer you sleep, the more calories you burn. The INSIDER Summary: Our bodies burn calories when we sleep, especially during the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep stage, according to sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus. During REM sleep, our glucose metabolism increases, accelerating the rate of calorie-burn. The longer you sleep, the more calories you burn but oversleeping has the reverse effect, and slows down metabolism. Many people obsess over during the day, but few realize that they can burn calories simply by getting a good night\’s sleep. \”There\’s a tremendous amount of evidence that shows that if you\’re not sleeping both from a quality and a quantity standpoint you will gain weight,\” sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus told INSIDER. Our bodies burn the most calories during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, he said. \”We burn the most calories in [this stage] because that\’s when we burn the most glucose\” and \”when our brains are the most active. \”
How does it work? The doctor breaks down this process in his book, \”Glucose metabolism starts to increase in the second half of the night when you enter REM sleep,\” he writes. \”Amazingly, the better you sleep, the more calories you burn. \” The amount of sleep you\’re getting has an impact, too. \”The longer you sleep, the more REM sleep you get, so you will burn more calories if you sleep longer,\” he writes. Not getting enough sleep can even affect your calorie intake the next day. Sleep deprivation makes people hungrier, especially for foods that are high in fat, plus sleeping less leaves more time to eat.
That said, you won\’t burn a ton of calories by sleeping all day, as over-sleeping has the reverse effect. Breus explains that \” those who sleep too long have slower metabolisms because they stay in bed instead of expending energy. \” How many calories do you burn in your sleep? Given that people weigh different amounts and, it\’s hard to give a concrete number of calories the average person burns in their sleep. to help you estimate roughly how many calories you burn while you\’re asleep. According to the article, you can work out your calorie expenditure by multiplying 0. 42 calories the average amount of calories a person burns for every pound they weigh in one hour of sleep by your weight in pounds and the hours that you sleep. As an example, the article calculates that someone weighing 150 pounds who sleeps for eight hours would burn approximately 63 calories an hour, totaling 504 calories during their sleep. It\’s worth noting, though, that this calculation doesn\’t take into account that the most calorie-burning happens in the REM stage of sleep, nor any habits that can impact your sleep, like eating late at night. Eat smaller meals for dinner and don\’t eat late at night. \”When you eat large meals close to bed[time], your body doesn\’t have an opportunity to metabolize through it,\” Breus said. He explained that the brain emits a growth hormone during stages of deep sleep; when we eat late at night, that growth hormone prompts the body to store food as fat instead of fuel.
That\’s why. \”In America we have a tendency to have our largest meal at night and our smallest meal in the morning,\” he said. \”The exact opposite is what we should be doing. \” Stop drinking alcohol three hours before bed. While a couple of glasses of wine with dinner is fine, Breus recommends curbing alcohol intake at least three hours before going to bed. \”You need to stop and give yourself a little time so that your body can metabolize through that alcohol, otherwise it keeps you out of those deeper stages of sleep and that can be a problem,\” he said. As he explained, it\’s during REM sleep a deep stage of sleep that our bodies can burn the most calories. Exercise every day but not before bed. Frequent exercise is a good idea for anyone looking to burn calories during the day or night. However, Breus warns that it\’s best to stop working out about four hours before bedtime. \”Some people tend to get kind of revved up from exercise and we want to make sure they\’re not too revved up to sleep,\” he said. With exercise, \”you increase your core body temperature and so it\’s hard to fall asleep when your body\’s hot. \” Sleep in the nude. Yes, you read that right. In a Psychology Today article on, Breus points to research that suggests that sleeping naked keeps the body cool, which can increase the body\’s reserves of brown fat a good kind of fat that burns energy in calories.
If you\’d rather keep your pajamas on, keeping your bedroom cool can have the same impact. Some studies have shown that. When it comes to keeping our weight under control we naturally focus on diet and exercise, but intriguing research suggests that if we want to keep those calories in check we should also be looking at how much we sleep. To test this theory for ourselves, we brought four volunteers to a location in the Kent countryside for two nights. Each volunteer experienced one night of undisturbed sleep and one night during which their sleep was severely disrupted by a baby doll programmed to cry through the night. We told our volunteers that we were investigating how sleep affects our mental abilities, when actually we were monitoring what they ate to see if the amount of sleep they were getting made any difference to their food choices. We kept track of our volunteers food intake with carefully positioned cameras and our footage was analysed by nutritionists led by Dr Denise Robertson from the University of Surrey. Three out of our four volunteers slept badly when they were taking care of the pretend babies. The next day, two of the volunteers ate more breakfast and chose less healthy options than they did when they got a good night s sleep. The third volunteer who slept badly didn t eat more, but did choose more sugary foods. Our final volunteer got a good night s sleep on both nights, despite the presence of the pretend baby, and chose to eat similar foods on both days.
Our experiment was only a small demo, not a scientific study, but the response of our volunteers was consistent with a recent analysis conducted by King s College London which reviewed dozens of small studies involving sleep and appetite. It showed that, although not everyone is affected in the same way, on average getting less than seven hours of sleep a night led to people eating significantly more overall. This is because a bad night s sleep disrupts two key hunger hormones: it causes an increase in a hormone called ghrelin which drives hunger, and suppresses a hormone called leptin which is a satiety signal, telling us when we re full. This combination leaves us feeling physically hungrier, and causes us to eat more. What s more, studies suggest that when we re exposed to food while sleep deprived, there is increased activation in areas of the brain associated with reward. This can lead to us choosing foods that are higher in sugar and fat, rather than selecting healthy options. All of this helps to explain why, in the long term, there s a strong connection between poor sleep, weight gain and health problems like type 2 diabetes. So, if you find yourself struggling to keep your weight under control, or if you can t resist those sugary treats, think about increasing your hours of sleep it could be an easy way to make a big difference.