If you wanted to burn off the calories of a chocolate chip cookie you ate, what would you do? Take a bike ride? Jump up and down a few times? Burning calories is most often associated with aerobic exercise and physical activity, and it’s true that you burn more if you’re active. However, you don’t need to be engaged in strenuous activity to burn calories. Your body uses them up around the clock, even when you are asleep!
You burn calories when your body uses energy. The amount of energy you use during sleep depends on a number of factors, including your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This number determines the amount of energy your body needs to maintain its most basic functions. It includes breathing, blood circulation, and keeping your organs running. How much you weigh plays a big role in setting your BMR. Essentially, the more pounds you are carrying, the more energy you use to do pretty much anything. Just as an example, a healthy person who weighs 125 pounds burns approximately 38 calories per hour of sleep. That means if this person is sleeping for eight hours, they wake up having burnt 304 calories- more than enough to burn off an extra cookie!
What Your Body is doing as You Sleep
How can your body be burning calories and using energy while you’re asleep? The answer lies in the fact that you’re not just lying there. Far from it! Energy use is particularly high during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. During this time, your brain is highly active, and you burn the most glucose, which is your body’s source of fuel. Your heart rate and blood pressure also rise during this time, which burns more calories. As stated above, your body is also burning calories just by breathing and circulating blood. While you sleep, your body goes to work repairing any damage done on a cellular level during your waking hours. For instance, if you went for that bike ride, your muscles will recover and repair themselves at night. Food digestion happens while you’re asleep as your body breaks down your meal into usable fuel for the following day. All of this takes energy, even though your body isn’t actually moving at all!
It’s Not All Good News…
You may be reading this and think “Great! I’ll sleep as much as I can and burn as many calories as I can!” If eight hours a night is good, then 10 hours a night must be great, right? Actually, this mindset is not correct. For most adults, sleeping more than the recommended amount may indicate an underlying health concern. In addition, regularly sleeping more than eight hours a night may increase the risk of obesity, headache, back pain, and heart disease. As well, a recent study discovered that oversleeping can put the body at risk for metabolic issues. You won’t be burning more calories for sleeping more; you’ll be burning less.
For one thing, if you’re asleep too much you’re not doing the other things your body needs in order to be healthy, like getting vitamins, exercising, and socializing. For most people, feeling excessively sleepy even if they got eight hours of sleep may reflect recent lifestyle changes, like a new work schedule or an increase in physical exercise. If this is an ongoing issue, it could be a sign of a disorder such as Sleep Apnea that results in poor sleep quality and feeling extra tired in the morning. There may be other health issues at play, including Depression and Anxiety, so it’s important to speak to a medical professional if you’re sleeping more than nine hours a night on a regular basis.
Make Sleep a Healthy Priority
It's important to get enough sleep. Sleep helps keep both your mind and body healthy! Getting the right amount of sleep on a consistent basis is associated with getting sick less often, staying at a healthy weight, and lowering your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease. It is also known to reduce stress, improve your mood, allow you to think more clearly and do better at work, plus help you get along better with others. As you can see, sleeping well on a consistent basis brings many benefits well beyond burning calories.
A good night's sleep is incredibly important for your health. In fact, it's just as important as eating a healthy diet and exercising. Both too little and too much sleep has been linked to weight gain, so your focus should be on getting it just right. That’s where a high-quality mattress that you find comfortable can help! A few small adjustments to your bedroom can result in better sleep and a happier morning. Create a sleep oasis with a comfortable mattress from one of the top brands we carry, like Tempur-Pedic, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest Black, PranaSleep, or our own City Mattress Parks Collection. The only way to find out which mattress is best for you is to lie down and try them! In our stores, you can come in and spend as much time as you need finding the perfect mattress to give you a great night of sleep and peak sleep satisfaction. Then, you’ll be sleeping well and your body will be burning calories as it works hard keeping you healthy.