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Hum Nutr Clin Nutr. 1987 May;41(3):225-33.

Energy expenditure during sleep in men and women: evaporative and sensible heat losses.


Evaporative and sensible heat losses were measured during sleep in 38 male and 21 female subjects in a direct whole-body calorimeter (24 m3). The subjects were all apparently healthy, had a mean body weight of 66 kg and had spent the preceding day in the calorimeter performing different fixed physical activity programmes. Heat losses were measured continuously between 11.30 p.m. and 6.30 a.m. The average (+/- s.e.m.) rate of total heat loss during the 7h of sleep was 90.6 +/- 1.21 and 74.4 +/- 1.22 watts for men and women respectively. The total heat loss during basal resting conditions immediately following sleep was 83.8 +/- 1.5 and 69.2 +/- 1.6 watts, respectively. Heat production during basal resting conditions, as measured by indirect calorimetry about 1 h after awakening on the morning of the preceding day, was found to be 85.6 +/- 1.3 and 71.2 +/- 1.1 watts, respectively. The increase in heat loss during sleep above that of basal resting conditions could largely be attributed to an increase in the evaporative heat loss. The heat loss fell during the night by about 14 per cent in women and about 30 per cent in men, approaching basal resting values in the last hour of sleep. Heat production during sleep was calculated for the male subjects by correcting the heat loss data for the published decreases in rectal temperature during the night and was found to be on average 9 per cent lower than the heat loss. The present data, as well as previously reported data, suggest that the energy expenditure of sleep is 0.95 X BMR rather than 1.0 X BMR as reported in the recent FAO/WHO/UNU Expert consultation (1985).

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