NutritionHow Many Calories Do You Burn While Sleeping? - Information From Experts...

How Many Calories Do You Burn While Sleeping? – Information From Experts 2023

When it comes to the mysteries of the body, sleep is a fascinating phenomenon. It’s a time of rest for our bodies. Surprisingly, it burns calories. This contradiction has led researchers to investigate the mechanisms behind calorie expenditure during sleep.

The human body is constantly. Needs a steady supply of energy to carry out essential functions like breathing digesting food and keeping the heart beating. To support these processes we utilize calories. While many people associate calorie burn with exercise and diet it’s important to note that our bodies continue to burn calories even when we’re not physically active.

During periods of rest like sleep its estimated that an individual can burn around 50 calories per hour. The specific amount of calories burned during sleep can vary from person to person. The factors that influence the calorie burn during sleep might be surprising. It may also be surprising to know that we have some control, over our caloric expenditure while sleeping.

How Many Calories Do You Burn While You Sleep?

The measurement of how many caloriesre burned while sleeping at night is a topic that interests scientists studying the human body. It's important to note that regardless of how we sleep the average person burns at least 300 calories before waking up. The number of calories burned during sleep depends on factors like weight, age, gender and metabolism. On average people burn around 0.42 calories per pound of body weight for every hour of sleep. Additionally the specific stage of sleep someone is, in can also affect how calories they burn.

How Does Energy Metabolism Work In General?

Energy metabolism is a biochemical process that takes place in our bodies to convert the food we consume into usable energy. It involves two stages, namely catabolism and anabolism. In the phase complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins are broken down into simpler molecules releasing energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

This energy is then utilized for bodily functions ranging from basic cellular activities to physical tasks. On the hand during the anabolic phase ATP is utilized for tissue building and repair protein synthesis and storing excess energy as glycogen or fat, for future needs. The regulation of this process relies heavily on hormones, enzymes and cellular respiratory pathways to ensure that our bodies have sufficient fuel to function optimally.

Calories Burned During Each Sleep Stage

The various stages of sleep have effects on the bodys metabolic processes. There are five stages in total. In the stage the body starts to relax and brain wave activity slows down. During this stage the rate at which calories are burned decreases significantly compared to when we’re awake.

Moving on to the second stage of sleep bodily functions decline even further with a decrease in body temperature, heart rate and respiration. This stage is characterized by tissue repair and regeneration mechanisms kicking in leading to calorie expenditure compared to the first stage. It’s clear that these sleep stages follow a pattern each having its own unique impact, on metabolism.

The third and fourth stages of sleep which are commonly referred to as sleep along with the fifth stage known as REM (rapid eye movement) or slow wave sleep are considered the most restorative phases of sleep. During these phases the body releases growth hormone, which plays a role in repairing and building muscle tissue.

It is in these stages that the highest amount of calories are burned throughout the sleep cycle. Furthermore it’s important to note that REM sleep is characterized by increased brain activity leading to a demand, for glucose. This heightened neurological activity leads to a metabolic rate during REM sleep resulting in increased calorie expenditure during this specific stage of sleep.

What Is The Daily Caloric Expenditure?

The measurement of how calories a person burns in a day doesn’t only depend on physical activity. On average an individuals basic metabolic rate can account for burning up to 1800 calories even if they don’t engage in intentional physical exertion.

However this number can vary significantly from person to person based on factors like height, weight and overall level of activity. To get an estimate of daily caloric expenditure it’s important to consider the individuals height, weight and activity level which includes both periods of rest and physical activity.

Moreover it’s crucial to understand that determining energy expenditure is more, than just calculating the calories burned during exercise or rest. It involves assessing the calories burned during the process of eating and digesting food as well as the calories expended during non physically demanding tasks. Altogether these factors contribute to an individuals Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).

Can I even lose weight by burning calories overnight?

Losing weight by burning calories overnight is definitely possible although not through sleep alone. When you’re asleep your body continues to burn calories for essential functions like breathing and regulating body temperature. However if you adopt a diet and exercise regularly your metabolism will become more efficient at burning calories throughout the day and night.

It’s worth noting that getting a nights sleep is crucial for managing weight since inadequate sleep can disrupt appetite related hormones and potentially lead to weight gain. So while burning calories at night isn’t the solution it plays a part, in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight overall.

What Is The Caloric Expenditure During Sleep?

Daily caloric expenditure image

To figure out how calories you burn while sleeping there are a few factors to consider like your weight, how long you sleep, your eating habits and any medical conditions you may have. As a rule we can estimate calorie expenditure based on weight. For instance if someone weighs 150 pounds they could burn around 46 calories per hour during sleep.

One used method to determine this is the Harris Benedict equation. Its known for estimating the basal metabolic rate (BMR) by taking into account variables such, as gender, age, body weight and height. Here’s how the calculation works:

  • For males, the calculation of Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is represented by the equation: 88.362 + (13.397 x your weight in kg) + (4.799 x your height in cm) – (5.677 x your age in years) = BMR
  • For Females: 447.593 + (9.247 x your weight in kg) + (3.098 x your height in cm) – (4.330 x your age in years) Once you have that number, you would divide it by 24 = BMR

To calculate the calories burned during sleep, you need to follow one step. Once you know your basal metabolic rate (BMR), divide it by 24, which is the number of hours in a day. This gives you your BMR. Next, multiply this BMR by a factor of 0.85. This step-by-step process is critical to determining the amount of calories burned during sleep.

How is metabolism different at night than during the day?

Energy metabolism is a biochemical process that occurs in our bodies converting the food we consume into usable energy. It involves two stages; catabolism and anabolism. In the phase complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins are broken down into simpler molecules releasing energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

This energy is then utilized for bodily functions ranging from basic cellular activities to physical tasks. In the anabolic phase ATP is utilized to construct and repair tissues synthesize proteins and store energy as glycogen or fat, for future use. Hormones, enzymes and cellular respiratory pathways play roles in regulating this intricate process of energy conversion to ensure that our bodies have sufficient fuel to function optimally.

How can you burn more calories while you sleep?

The concept of burning calories while sleeping is a bodily process but it is possible to influence the number of calories burned overnight. There are approaches that can be taken to optimize the outcomes during sleep especially for individuals aiming to achieve their weight loss objectives. One effective strategy involves manipulating the sleep environment.

Controlling sleep temperature

By keeping a cooler sleep environment the body needs to use energy to compensate for heat loss, which can result in increased activation of adipose tissue. This phenomenon ultimately boosts metabolic activity during sleep and may contribute to achieving weight management goals.

A structured meal plan

Developing a structured meal plan is crucial for effectively managing body weight. It’s important to be mindful of eating at night especially in the evening as it can potentially result in unwanted weight gain and decrease the levels of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite. According to Harvard Health Publishing from Harvard Medical School late night eating may also impact behavior, which in turn affects how the body metabolizes and stores fat.

Weight lifting exercises

It is worth noting that there is a misconception about weight lifting. Some people mistakenly believe that it will automatically lead to muscle bulk and weight retention. However strength training actually helps increase metabolic rate by promoting the development of muscle mass.

Consistently incorporating strength training into your routine can be a strategy, for preparing your body to achieve weight loss goals. This will facilitate calorie expenditure even during periods of rest including sleep.

Reducing Cardiovascular Exercise Gradually

Its widely known that increasing physical activity leads to burning calories. However lets take a look at the commonly accepted belief about cardio workouts as an effective weight loss strategy. Interestingly these workouts may unintentionally lead to weight gain due to their role in triggering cortisol spikes, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland.

Including Protein Intake Before Bedtime

Incorporating protein shakes into your diet can be a way to manage your calorie intake. Particularly they can serve as a replacement for a meal before bedtime while still providing satisfaction and enough energy for burning calories. This smart dietary decision not helps reduce calorie consumption but also promotes a feeling of fullness creating an environment conducive, to burning calories.

Factors That Affect Calories Burned

The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is a measure that determines how much energy an individuals body needs when they are at rest. Many factors, both constant and changing can influence the BMR. These factors include gender, body composition, eating habits, calorie intake and hormone levels. They can. Fluctuate or remain stable and have a noticeable impact on the BMR. Additionally certain key variables play a role in this process:


As we age our bodies undergo physiological changes that often result in a decrease in lean muscle mass. This means that there is fat relative to overall body weight as we get older. Consequently the rate at which calories are burned during sleep slows down. Life events related to age like pregnancy or menopause may also lead to changes, in patterns and calorie expenditure habits. These transitions can affect how efficiently calories are used up.

Environmental Factors and Their Impact

Factors in the environment like age have an influence on the number of calories we burn. One important factor is temperature. In climates people tend to burn more calories while in cooler environments the results may vary. Regardless of how comfortable we feel our bodies respond to temperature changes by using energy to either warm up or cool down.

Genetic Influences

Genetics play a role in physiological characteristics, including the rate at which we burn calories during sleep as reflected by our resting metabolic rate (RMR) similar to basal metabolic rate (BMR). Certain genes, such as the UCP1 gene found in tissues responsible for heat production directly affect an individuals ability to adapt to cold temperatures.

Other genetic variations related to the UCP1 gene can also impact metabolic rate, body mass index (BMI). Even be linked with an increased risk of developing conditions, like diabetes and obesity. These genetic factors contribute to the web of calorie expenditure during periods of rest.

What causes you to burn fewer calories at night?

There are reasons why we burn fewer calories at night. Firstly when we’re asleep our physical activity naturally decreases, which means we’re not expending many calories. Additionally our bodys metabolic rate slows down during rest to conserve energy because we don’t require fuel. Another factor is that when we sleep we don’t consume any food so the thermic effect of food is reduced, which usually leads to burning calories after eating.

Hormonal changes also contribute to this phenomenon; for example the production of melatonin, at night can lower our core body temperature. Further decrease energy expenditure. Overall although some calories are still burned during sleep to support bodily functions all these factors combined result in a slower metabolic rate at night compared to when we’re awake.


Many people are unaware that while we sleep our bodies continue to carry out processes. Sleep is a time for our muscles to recover for physical repair to occur and for overall health to be restored. Interestingly during this phase our bodies also burn calories as they engage in tasks like repairing blood vessels and strengthening the immune system.

According to research conducted by the Sleep Foundation we typically burn 15% fewer calories while sleeping compared to when we are awake. It’s important to understand that even small amounts of calorie expenditure play a role in maintaining our overall health.

The ability to consistently burn the calories for bodily functions depends on various factors such as metabolic rate, overall health condition and sleep patterns. These factors can be influenced by efforts and practice ultimately contributing to the complex coordination of metabolic processes, within our bodies during sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the usual number of calories burned in a day?

Normally when someone is not exercising they tend to burn around 1800 calories per day. However this can vary based on factors like age, basal metabolic rate (BMR) hormone levels and overall health.

How can I increase the amount of calories burnt while sleeping?

To enhance the number of calories burned during sleep there are factors to consider. It’s important to maintain a consistent sleep routine and engage in physical activity. Additionally making choices regarding your diet can also contribute. Incorporating strategies such, as controlling the temperature of your sleeping environment and including strength training exercises in your routine may further help you increase calorie expenditure while you sleep.

Do health conditions impact the number of calories burned while sleeping?

Certain health conditions, like thyroid disorders, chronic diseases or obesity can influence your metabolism. Potentially affect the amount of calories you burn during sleep. For instance conditions such as hyperthyroidism, which involves a thyroid gland can change your metabolic rate and impact calorie expenditure during sleep.

What is the average calorie burn during sleep?

On average you can expect to burn 0.42 calories per pound of body weight per hour of sleep.

How does age influence calorie burn during sleep?

Age does play a role in the amount of calories burned while sleeping. As individuals get older they often experience muscle loss and an increase in body fat resulting in a rate of calorie burn during sleep. Additionally age related factors, like menopause or pregnancy may affect eating habits and patterns of caloric expenditure.


  1. Harvard Health Publishing. “Burning calories without exercise.” Harvard Health. Accessed June 26, 2023. Link
  2. Mayo Clinic. “Can you boost your metabolism?” Mayo Clinic. Published November 10, 2020. Accessed June 26, 2023. Link
  3. Better Health Channel. “Metabolism.” Better Health Channel. Published 2012. Accessed June 26, 2023. Link
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Physical activity for a healthy weight.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published October 28, 2020. Accessed June 26, 2023. Link
  5. Harvard Health Publishing. “How can meal schedules affect your weight?” Harvard Health. Published January 1, 2023. Accessed June 26, 2023. Link
  6. Chathoth S, Ismail MH, Vatte C, et al. “Association of Uncoupling Protein 1 (UCP1) gene polymorphism with obesity: a case-control study.” BMC Medical Genetics. 2018;19. Link
  7. Pacheco D. “How Your Body Uses Calories While You Sleep.” Sleep Foundation. Published January 1, 1970. Link

Mark Willson, holding a Ph.D., functions as a psychotherapist in Washington, D.C. His specialized fields encompass addiction, anxiety, depression, as well as sexuality and interpersonal connections. Dr. Willson holds the distinction of being a diplomat for the American Board of Addiction and Anxiety, further serving as a certified counselor and addiction specialist.

Aside from his personal professional endeavors, Dr. Wilson has engaged in roles as an author, journalist, and creator within substantial medical documentary projects.

Isabella Clark, Ph.D., held the position of a professor within Emory University’s School of Medicine, working in the Department of Mental Health and Nutrition Science. Alongside this role, she served as a research associate affiliated with the National Research Center. Dr. Clark’s primary area of research centers on comprehending the mechanisms through which adverse social encounters, encompassing prolonged stress and traumatic exposure, contribute to a spectrum of detrimental mental health consequences and coexisting physical ailments like obesity. Her specific focus lies in unraveling the reasons behind the varying elevated susceptibility to stress-linked disorders between different genders.


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