The human body is burning calories 24 hours a day, even during rest! Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is another term for our Metabolism. Our BMR is the minimum amount of calories (or energy) that we burn per day to maintain basic functions like breathing, maintaining body temperature and keeping our heart beating. Obviously this continues even after we fall asleep, but there are a few changes that we can make to our daily routine in order to increase the amount of calories burned while sleeping. Intrigued, aren’t you? Let us show you how! This is how to burn calories while you sleep:
Pack on the Muscle, Girl!
A greater muscle mass will yield a higher calorie burn. This remains true even while your body is at rest. Sleep is your body’s time to recover. This recovery process is fueled by your stored energy (calories). Expending energy throughout the day will lead to more calories burned at night. Not only will a vigorous lifting session build more ‘calorie burning’ muscle, it will also leave you feeling ready for a good night’s sleep!
Be Mindful of What and When You’re Eating
According to the MayoClinic you shouldn’t go to bed on an empty stomach nor an overly full one. Going to bed hungry can make you toss and turn all night. Likewise, eating too much too late can leave you feeling uncomfortable, affecting the quality of your sleep. Consuming nicotine and caffeine within a few hours of bedtime can leave you feeling jittery. Alcohol will typically make you feel sleepy at first, but can end up leading to another sleepless night. Avoiding these things before bed will allow you to get better rest, keeping the extra pounds off.
Stick to lighter meals, a few hours before bed. Foods like tuna, shrimp, turkey, almonds and walnuts just to name a few, contain something called tryptophan. According to the National Sleep Foundation, tryptophan is an amino acid that plays a part in sleep regulation. Consuming a small amount of carbohydrates with a food containing tryptophan will help you sleep better. An example could be tuna with whole grain crackers. Most foods containing tryptophan are on the healthier side, so maintaining a cleaner diet during daylight hours will lead to better sleep and more calories burned!
Namaste in the Bathtub
Okay, so I really wanted to use that play on words but I can’t (and don’t) recommend practicing yoga in the bath. However, a quick stretching routine and warm relaxing bath before bed will induce a good night’s rest. Try this Evening Yoga for Relaxation. Both of these things act as stress relievers, so they make it easier to fall into a deep sleep. Remember, the longer that you can stay in deep REM sleep, the more calories your body will burn. We’ll go over that in just a few minutes. It’s important to note that a warm bath can help you relax, just allow your skin to cool down before getting in bed. Speaking of a cool down…
Cool it Down
Studies have shown that sleeping in a cold room actually allows us to burn more calories throughout the night. Dr. Francesco Saverio Celi of the NIDDK performed a study where 31 healthy individuals slept in a cold, 66 degree room or a warmer, 77 degree room. The participants that slept in the colder room, burned on average 7% more calories throughout the night. This was most likely due to the fact that their bodies would have been actively working to raise their core body temperature.
So, when you go to bed tonight, turn down the air (optimal temperature is between 60-68 degrees), crack open a window (if it’s cool outside) or sleep with less clothes and blankets. When it comes to passively burning extra calories, I’m all about it! Try it for yourself!
Say Goodnight to Technology
I know, I know, it’s so hard to put down your phone when there’s so many great SkinnyMs articles to read! 😉 Don’t worry, they’ll still be there in the morning! However, you only get so many hours at night to get some shut eye. There’s evidence that says your electronic devices and that darn “blue light” that they emit can delay that precious deep REM sleep that your body needs so badly. Put down the phone 30 minutes to an hour before your set bedtime. Try picking up a book instead and reading under a nice warm, bed side lamp light. You’ll be catching Zzz’s, counting sheep and burning excess calories in no time!
Establish a Consistent Sleeping Pattern
This is HUGE when it comes to getting deep REM sleep. “You keep saying that, but why is REM important?” I’m so glad that you asked! REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. This is your “dream state”. Studies have shown that this deep sleep is when your brain is highly active and burning the most calories. During these periods of rest is also when your body is manufacturing glucose. Glucose is, to put it simply, your body’s fuel. A full tank allows you to feel energized and productive throughout the following day. Do you see now why I keep emphasizing how important deep sleep is?!
Make Every Minute Count
Last but certainly not least, you need to stop pressing the snooze button. It’s better to set your alarm for exactly when you intend to get up. Setting it any earlier can interrupt and decrease the amount of deep sleep you’re getting. The great thing is, when you start following a sleeping pattern, your internal clock will begin to wake you up at the right time each day. I can vouch for this! Last night I forgot to set my alarm, yet this morning I woke up exactly 1 minute before the alarm would have gone off. There’s no need to press snooze a million times! Quality of sleep decreases dramatically after the first alarm anyway.
Just by making a few simple changes to your daily routine, you can greatly improve the quality of your sleep. Putting all of these things into practice will allow you to get a solid night’s rest and burn those excess calories!
For more information on how to get a better night’s sleep, read more about 6 Before-Bed Habits for Amazing Sleep.