Believe it or not, your body burns quite a few calories sleeping for eight hours a night, especially if you have lots of lean body mass. A study published in a 2007 edition of the “Journal of Sleep Research” reports that short sleep duration is associated with a higher body mass index and increased prevalence of obesity. The amount of calories you’ll expend during eight hours of sleep is based on your body weight.
Calories Burned Sleeping
The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn dozing. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 125-pound woman will burn 304 calories sleeping for eight hours, while a 155-pound gal will expend 368 calories dozing the same duration at night. A 185-pound woman burns 448 calories crashing for eight hours a night.
Sleeping vs. Walking
You can burn just as many calories sleeping for eight hours as hitting the treadmill for an hour. Harvard Health Publications reports a 125-pound woman burns about 300 calories walking at a pace of 4.5 miles per hour for one hour, while a 155-pound gal expends 372 calories walking the same pace and duration. A 185-pound woman burns 444 calories power walking at a pace of 4.5 miles per hour for an hour.
Increase Calorie Expenditure
Muscle burns more calories than fat, even while you’re dozing. To boost your calorie expenditure while sleeping, increase your lean body mass by exercising regularly. Resistance training, such as weightlifting, is the key to increasing muscle and toning problem areas. For best results, work each main group -- including your legs, arms, back, shoulders, chest and abdominal muscles -- at least two times per week, suggests the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Effects of Protein
Munching on high-protein snacks before bed helps repair and build muscle mass after bouts of exercise, increasing your calorie expenditure while you’re sleeping. A study published in a 2012 edition of “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” reports protein ingestion immediately before bed stimulates post-exercise protein synthesis overnight. Choose healthy, protein-rich foods, such as egg whites, skinless chicken, seafood, low-fat dairy foods -- like cottage cheese -- legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds.
- Journal of Sleep Research: The Association between Sleep Duration, Body Mass Index and Metabolic Measures in the Hordaland Health Study
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: Protein Ingestion Before Sleep Improves Post-Exercise Overnight Recovery
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Summary
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.