Even in sleep, the body burns 0.42 calories per pound per hour. That means a person weighing 150 pounds burns 63 calories per hour. That equates to 504 calories after 8 hours of sleep. In comparison, jogging for an hour consumes 398 calories for a person of the same weight.
We burn off calories even when we sleep because our body does not stop working—just to keep us alive.
It might seem counter-intuitive because we often associate weight loss weight energy-expending activities—not sleeping. Surprisingly, we don’t just burn calories during sleep. A good sleep can also help us increase the rate of weight loss and stave off the adverse effect of losing weight.
Here are some things you can do to maximize weight loss with sleep:
#1 Eat protein before sleeping
If you tend to crave food before sleep, then stocking up on protein shakes might help you deal with it. Protein can keep us feel full and satisfied, and it aids in the production of tryptophan—which helps produce serotonin. Serotonin helps us relax and fall asleep faster.
In addition, research conducted by Florida State University reveal that those who consume 30 grams of protein before sleeping has a higher resting expenditure the morning after compared to those who hadn’t.
Furthermore, if you are planning on exercising the next morning, you’ll also burn more calories than usual.
Also, during workout and exercise, your muscles sustain tears and damage which are repaired during sleep. By consuming protein before you sleep, you give your body the very material that it’ll use to repair your muscles.
What’s good about the process of muscle repair is that it doesn’t just mend damage muscle tissues, it also grows more muscle fibers. The more muscle you have, the higher is your resting energy expenditure and the more energy you burn during a workout.
#2 Sleep in a comfortable bed in a completely dark room
Sleep and light do not team up well. Light affects the production of melatonin which is a primary factor for getting a restful sleep.
In addition, sleeping in complete darkness maximizes the release of melatonin which not only makes you fall asleep faster but also promotes the production of brown fat—a kind of fat that burns calories. This is revealed by a study published in the Journal of Pineal Research.
To take advantage of this, ensure that your room is as dark as possible by installing shades or blackout curtains in your bedroom. Even a minor light from the outside can adversely affect the production of melatonin and prevents you from getting a restful and complete sleep.
Also, consider using memory foam pillows for maximum comfort. This will help achieve a satisfactory asleep.
Another factor you need to look out for is the amount of noise in your room. Consider using white noise generators to drown outside sounds. Sleeping in complete silence is not ideal because even minor sounds from the outside can easily rouse you from sleep.
#3 Keep the temperature down
Your body is in a state of equilibrium known as homeostasis. This keeps your body in a safe and ideal condition by maintaining some internal mechanisms such as your blood pressure and core body temperature.
If something wrong happens to it, it corrects itself. For instance, if your temperature goes up, it will produce sweat to help dissipate the excess heat.
By turning the room temperature down while you sleep, you force your body to expend more calories to maintain your normal core temperature. As a result, you burn more calories than usual.
A study published in the journal Diabetes reveals that a room cooled to 66oF causes an increase in the energy expenditure of 7%.
It may not seem significant, but you still burn an extra 33 calories or so a night. That’s roughly 100 calories every three nights. If you want to lose weight, even minute addition to your caloric expenditure can mean a lot.
#4 Take off your eyes from screens
An hour before you sleep, turn off all your gadgets and electronics in the bedroom. The screen of TV, cell phone, and any device emits blue light which interferes with the production of melatonin and messes up with the body’s metabolism.
You also need to keep your phone and all gadgets that emit light away from you to allow your body to start producing melatonin. If you want to read a book before you sleep, opt for a physical book and save your e-book reader for daytime reading.
If you can’t help but look at your phone, you can install applications that minimize blue light. These applications change the color profile of your screens and make it warm.
#5 Always have a complete and restful sleep
Sleep is critical for weight loss because it keeps your metabolism fast and healthy. That means you burn more calories the morning after a restful sleep.
For you to benefit from sleep, it needs to be complete—that is, 7-8 hours—and needs to be restful. Sleep that has some interruptions in between is not as good as an uninterrupted one even of a similar duration.
Also, lack of sleep does not only cause weight gain—it also makes losing weight difficult. Also, study suggests that a tired person has a lower resting metabolic rate compared to people who had a complete and restful sleep.
Surprisingly, sleep plays a critical role in keeping our metabolism at its peak. A healthy metabolism allows one to stay at a healthy weight.
One of the most common causes of obesity, aside from overeating, is a metabolic syndrome. This condition is brought about by some factors—sleep being among the most important of them. The lack of sleep causes our body to function erratically resulting in a malfunction in how it uses energy and stores excess calories.
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This is Sandra McElroy. My mission is to help BedtimeFriends readers research, & pick mattresses & various other sleep products that suit their needs, & budget.