Published On By Rachel Nall

Calorie Burn During SleepOur body burns calories not just when we are awake but also during sleep. The human body may need energy to perform daily activities like keeping the heart beating, eating, walking, breathing, or digesting food.

Even when we are far asleep, the body continues to burn calories. The brain functioning could affect our resting metabolism rate. During sleep, the body undergoes metabolic processes that impact energy expenditure and overall well-being.

Our body composition, weight, metabolic health, age, or genetic makeup may determine how much calories we might burn during sleep.

Understanding the relationship between metabolism and sleep may provide valuable insights for people seeking to manage their weight or improve their overall health.

How Many Calories Do You Burn While You Sleep?

People burn approximately 50 calories per hour while asleep, depending on their basal metabolic rate. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) plays a vital role in deciding the calories burned during sleep, accounting for around 80% of the total calories expended daily.

It may determine the energy needs of our body for sustaining essential bodily functions like breathing, circulation, and cellular repair. Factors like muscle mass composition, gender, weight, and age may influence the basal metabolic rate.

Factors That Influence Calorie Burn

Factors influencing the body's calorie-burning potential include personal attributes like height, weight, and fitness level. Other factors may include:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Diet Quality
  • Sleep Patterns
  • Racial Background
  • Genetic Predispositions
  • Hormonal Balance

The basal metabolic rate (BMR) varies with body size, as taller people may require more energy to support their bodily functions.

Physically active people have a more defined body composition due to muscle development. Muscles may burn more calories than fat, contributing to higher calorie burn.

Men generally have a higher BMR than women because they usually have larger muscle composition. Metabolic needs decrease with age, although children have higher metabolism during growth phases.

Sleep quality is also essential, as poor sleep can negatively affect metabolism. Poor sleep quality may slow our metabolism, causing an increase in ghrelin hormones that could make us feel hungry and crave food. It is a peptide hormone that might increase appetite and cause unwanted weight gain due to compromised sleeping hours.

Studies suggest that African Americans may have a lower BMR, influenced by racial background. Genetics also affect metabolic rate as some people may burn more calories than others (when sedentary) due to genetic predisposition.

In some cases, hormonal balance could be affected by factors like pregnancy, menopause, or medical conditions like thyroid disorders. These factors could also influence calorie burning.

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How To Calculate Your Calories Burned During Asleep?

Calculating the calories burned while asleep involves understanding individual metabolism and utilizing a formula based on sex, weight, and age to determine the basal metabolic rate (BMR).

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): BMR represents the number of calories burned at rest, including during sleep. You can calculate it using specific formulas based on sex, weight, and age.
  • Equations for BMR: For men, the formula is 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5. For women, it is 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161.

Do Sleep Stages Affect Calories?

Different sleep stages may cause some fluctuation in the body's calorie expenditure. The energy required to breathe and blood circulation may change through the night.

Our body undergoes two sleep phases, followed by three stages: N1, N2, and N3:

  • Rapid Eye Movement Stage(REM)
  • Non-Rapid Eye Movement Stage(NREM)

Rapid eye movement sleep is the most energy-intensive phase. In REM sleep, heart rate and brain activity increase, requiring more glucose and higher calorie burning than other sleep stages.

The essential bodily functions could slow down significantly during stage three, the “deep” sleep stage. Heart rate, respiration, core body temperature, and brain activity decrease to a minimum.

However, the brain's reduced glucose demand during the third stage of sleeping leads to the lowest metabolic rate of all sleep stages.

Best Strategies To Increase The Number Of Calorie Burn During Sleep

  1. Increase Protein Intake

    Protein-rich foods may boost metabolism via their thermic effect, of food. They require more calories to be burned for metabolizing and digesting them. Such effects might provide a temporary metabolic boost after a meal.

    Consuming high-protein meals might enhance the body's resting metabolic rate, as they require more energy to digest. These virtues could help burn calories throughout the day, including during sleep.

    Consider adding protein-rich foods to your meals to increase total protein intake. You may add lean beef, chicken, salmon, and eggs.

    Vegetarian-based protein sources may include food sources like peanut butter, soybeans, yogurt, and lentils. These foods might help you feel satiated and boost your basal metabolic rate. Such effects may help you burn more calories during sedentary periods (like during sitting or sleeping).

  2. Perform Regular Exercise

    Regular physical activity may boost metabolism and increase the number of calories burned during sleep. Some cardiovascular exercises like walking, running, and biking could help burn calories and improve endurance, heart health, and sleep quality.

    To get better results, we could also combine cardio exercises with strength training. People with higher muscle mass could burn more calories at rest, including during sleep.

    Integrating strength training into our exercise routine could further enhance this effect by building lean muscle mass. Building lean muscle mass requires more energy to maintain, thus increasing overall calorie expenditure.

    Experts recommend scheduling the workouts at least three hours before bedtime to help with sleep quality.

  3. Weight Management

    Losing weight might significantly impact and enhance your metabolism. Fat burns fewer calories than muscle when the body is at rest.

    Weight loss could improve body composition by reducing fat mass and increasing lean mass composition. Such effects may raise the body's metabolic rate, contributing to efficient calorie burning.

    Cutting unhealthy fats and processed and sugary foods from your meals might prevent you from gaining extra pounds. Creating sustainable weight loss goals, getting regular exercise, and acquiring quality sleep may help you experience long-term weight loss results.

  4. Turn Down The Heat

    The metabolic rate depends on environmental factors. You can try turning down the heat of your room, which may support more calorie burn and weight loss.

    When you sleep in a cooler room, the body functions and produces more heat to stay warm. This might increase caloric expenditure, potentially supporting weight loss.

    Sleeping nude may also increase calorie burning by keeping us cool at night. It could trigger oxytocin release, which may boost our well-being and support peaceful, uninterrupted sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can Certain Sleep Positions Affect the Number of Calories Burned During Sleep?
    Sleeping on the side could potentially improve digestion and reduce snoring. This sleeping technique may indirectly influence metabolic processes and energy expenditure.
  • Does the Time of Day That You Go to Bed Impact the Rate at Which You Burn Calories While Sleeping?
    The time of the day may influence the rate at which we burn calories during sleep. Metabolism fluctuates throughout the day, potentially impacting caloric expenditure. Late-night sleeping and irregular sleeping patterns might reduce BMR. Factors like meal timing, activity levels, and sleep quality may also affect calories burned during sleep.
  • Are There Particular Foods or Drinks That Can Enhance the Body's Calorie Burn During Sleep?
    High-protein snacks, like Greek yogurt and nuts, could help boost metabolism. Drinking at least eight to ten glasses of water and consuming a balanced diet is also essential.
  • How Does Age-Related Muscle Loss Affect the Metabolism and Calorie Burn During Sleep?
    Age-related muscle loss can slow metabolism, impacting calorie burn during sleep. Reduced muscle mass decreases energy expenditure. Maintaining muscle through strength training and adequate protein intake could help mitigate this effect, supporting metabolic function.
  • Can Aromatherapy or Essential Oils Influence the Body's Metabolic Rate While Sleeping?
    They may influence the body's metabolic rate during sleep by promoting relaxation and stress reduction, which could positively impact metabolism.


Though the body burns calories during sleep, It may not be the only way or an effective weight loss strategy.

The calories burned during sleep could depend on several factors, such as body weight, metabolic rate, and the quality of sleep.

Maintaining a moderate weight, focusing on a calorie-controlled diet, and getting regular exercise might enhance the body's calorie-burning potential, even while we are asleep.

Avoiding stimulants like nicotine and caffeine close to bedtime, following a consistent sleep schedule, and limiting screen exposure may also help induce quality sleep, potentially supporting an increased calorie burn.

  • The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this article.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • Consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before following health tips or instructions.

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