If you’re focused on improving your health and getting fit, you may worry about what happens to your body while you sleep.
TEMPUR looks at how many calories we burn while we sleep, and exactly how much sleep is good for our physical health.
The phrase ‘burning calories’ is commonly used by people who are trying to lose weight, diet or get fitter – but what does the process entail?
Calories are stored in all food and drinks, and it is our metabolism which converts them into energy. A biochemical reaction occurs and calories are combined with oxygen to release energy which allows are body to function properly.
There are several factors that affect our metabolic rate (the rate at which we burn calories to perform basic bodily functions such as breathing and circulating blood) including:
As well as our metabolism, exercise or physical activity is by far the biggest factor determining how many calories we burn during waking hours.
Although sleeping is a non-physical activity, it still requires the body to burn calories as energy is needed for actions such as breathing and regulating body temperature. On average, a person will burn around four calories for each pound of weight per hour of sleep.
Factors which affect the rate at which we burn calories during sleep include:
Should you eat before going to bed?
As we have covered previously, a snack before bedtime can actually help promote weight loss. A small, healthy snack can help boost your metabolism and keep your blood sugar level stable throughout the night. This allows glucagon (a hormone which burns fat) to get to work while you sleep.
A healthy snack before you go to bed can also help towards building a stronger immune system and can restore your energy levels, allowing you to wake up ready for the day ahead.
However, it’s not all good news. There can be issues associated with eating before bed – most notably heartburn. Avoid eating fatty or spicy foods that, rather than help you sleep, can actually keep you awake all night.
Similarly, health conditions such as asthma or bronchitis can be worsened by eating too much before bed. Having lots of food sitting in your stomach can affect the movement of chest.