Most people commit at least 12 hours or more to their daily intermittent fasting schedule. This seems to gain the most health benefits in the long run. Plus, with intermittent fasting, the schedule can be very flexible to fit best with your itinerary throughout the day. The main point to get across is that the fasting hours have to be continuous and cannot be broken up six hours here or six hours there. So it does take a little planning to match it up with your needs on the calendar.
Can You Count the Hours You Are Sleeping as Part of Your Intermittent Fasting?
Definitely. Yes. Without a doubt. As you are sleeping, you are not taking in food, so you are fasting at the same time. In fact, it is the easiest time to be fasting. You can dream those extra pounds away.
Still, it should only be part of your fasting for the day. It is not recommended to try sleeping for 12 straight hours each day to cover for all of your fasting time. While you are sleeping, your body does not burn away as many calories, so be sure to be awake and continue on through your day like normal for at least some of those fasting hours.
Why Does Sleeping Count for Intermittent Fasting?
As stated above, you are not actively eating during sleep so this is part of your intermittent fasting time. However, keep in mind, when you are sleeping, your metabolism slows down considerably and you will not burn as many calories than if you were awake. Still, your metabolism never shuts down completely, so it is nonetheless active while you are sleeping to a degree.
This is part of the reason why you should never consume large amounts of food right before bed. Your body will not burn up those calories like it would when you were awake and active. Instead, it will be added as those extra pounds around your midsection. Consider this when creating your intermittent fasting schedule.
Get the Best of Both Worlds
There is a way to combat that slowing of your metabolism while sleeping. An hour or two before heading to bed and after your intermittent fasting time has started, complete your workout for the day. Your metabolism will speed up considerably during your workout as you sweat away during your training. But it doesn’t end there.
A 2011 study showed that a mere 45-minute workout increased people’s metabolic rate for a continuous 14 hours after. If sticking to this routine, it would greatly improve how many calories and how much fat you were burning through during each intermittent fasting throughout your sleep. It is a win-win.
It does not matter if it is a cardio workout or strength training as long as you are putting forth serious effort during this time. Plus, it should definitely help you sleep better as you will feel exhausted after.