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Calorie burning while asleep

Oct. 15, 2018 07:02

Good news for those willing to raise their activity/calorie burning in any way - your body is still burning calories, even when you're sleeping.

Apart from the fact, our brain uses 20% of your calorie intake per day. It continues to do this even when you're asleep.

"Burning calories [during sleep] is certainly necessary because sleep is not a passive activity," says Mary Ellen Wells, director of Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science at UNC School of Medicine.

But still, it is tough to track how many calories you burn.

"There is no magic number of how many calories are burned during sleep," says Dr. Wells. "It is highly variable throughout the sleep stages, and highly variable based on the person’s daytime activities and of course genetics."

Best Mattress describes this mechanism in a next way: our body cells have mitochondria which are the powerhouse of the cell. It stores energy that is used up in all kinds’ activities that we do. The process of losing weight is similar to this concept where a certain amount of calories are taken in, and some are burned.

While sleeping the human body breathes in heavier and continues pumping blood and oxygen all throughout the body. The positions that we change during sleeping also take up energy and eventually burn a few calories.

Our brain is actually the most active when we are sleeping, it needs to take care of our subconscious which we can usually see in our dreams, it helps the dead cells replace in our body, and the brain needs to make sure that we do not miss a heartbeat in the whole process. All these activities take up energy and hence, burn calories in our body.

But while on a diet it is required to know your calorie burning level. In this case, scientists invented the following formula.

Basal metabolic rate (BMR)

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR), represents the number of calories you individually burn a day at rest, or while you’re sedentary. This includes sleeping and sitting.

Remembering school course of maths in order to calculate your BMR, you use an equation that factors in your sex, weight, and age using inches for height and pounds for weight.

  1. 66 + (6.2 x weight) + (12.7 x height) - (6.76 x age) = BMR for men
  2. 655.1 + (4.35 x weight) + (4.7 x height) - (4.7 x age) = BMR for women

The more mass your body has, the more calories you’ll burn while resting, sleeping, and doing other activities. Men tend to burn more calories at rest than women of the same weight because men typically have higher muscle mass. Note that muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does.

"We cycle through several sleep stages (light to deep and REM) about every 90 minutes and repeat this cycle several times during the night. And likewise, the metabolic activity also cycles throughout the night. Our brains are just as active (or even more active) during REM sleep, as they are while we are awake," Wells ended. 

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