How many calories do you burn while sleeping? Effective ways to boost calorie burn


When you crawl into bed at night, you may think your body is headed for a metabolically uneventful eight hours of slumber. However, your body is actually hard at work throughout the night unconsciously burning calories to keep basic functions running. So how many calories does your body burn while you are sound asleep in dreamland? What factors impact the number of calories burned overnight? And can optimizing your sleep help rev up your calorie burn? Keep reading to get the fascinating facts on the connection between sleep and your metabolism.

How many calories do you burn while sleeping? Effective ways to boost calorie burn

How Many Calories Does the Average Person Burn Per Night of Sleep?

Even when your body and mind are at rest on those blissful nights of deep Zzz’s, your metabolism does not take a break. Your body is continuously burning calories day and night to keep vital systems functioning.

Research shows that most adults burn anywhere between 50 to 100 calories per hour while sleeping. That calorie expenditure can really add up over the course of a full nightly sleep period.

If you get a solid eight hours of high-quality sleep each night, you can expect to burn approximately 400 to 800 calories or more just by catching your nightly Zzzs. For example, a 150-pound person who sleeps for eight hours likely burns about 576 calories overnight. While sleeping metabolism may not cause pounds to instantly melt away, it is still a significant amount of calorie burn that should not be overlooked.

To put the calorie burn of a good night's sleep into perspective, consider this:

  • A slice of pepperoni pizza can contain 300 calories or more. So you might burn the calorie equivalent of eating two or three slices of hearty pizza simply by sleeping soundly each night.
  • A McDonald's Big Mac contains 550 calories. So you can burn nearly an entire Big Mac worth of calories while you sleep for eight hours.
  • A Starbucks Venti Caramel Frappuccino has 410 calories. You torch about the same number of calories while you get some shut eye.

So even though shuteye may not feel like much effort, your body is working hard behind the scenes to burn calories round-the-clock.

What Factors Influence How Many Calories You Burn During Sleep?

The estimated 50-100 calories burned per hour of sleep is just an average for most adults. Many factors can influence exactly how many calories your unique body burns overnight while you are unconscious in dreamland. Key factors that impact calorie burn during sleep include:


Younger adults tend to burn more calories during sleep than older adults. Why is that? As we age, our metabolism naturally starts to slow down little by little each year. The older we get, the more sedentary we tend to become as well. The combined effect means calorie burn decreases slightly as we age.

Children ages 5-10 generally burn around 50 calories for every hour spent sawing logs. For teens, calorie burn per hour ramps up a bit with teenage boys burning roughly 65 calories and girls burning about 55 calories hourly during sleep.

Calorie burn peaks for most adults between ages 30 to 60 years old at approximately 70 to 100 calories per hour slept. After age 60, the average calorie burn dips to roughly 45 to 65 calories hourly during sleep due to metabolic slowing. However, remaining physically active can help counteract some of this natural decrease in overnight calorie burn.

Biological Sex

Is it true that men burn more calories while sleeping than women? Research indicates that biological sex does impact resting calorie expenditure. On average, men tend to burn more calories overnight than women.

Some key differences drive this:

  • Men naturally tend to have less essential body fat than women. Fat tissue burns about 4.5 calories per pound daily while muscle burns about six calories per pound per day at rest.
  • Men also often have more lean muscle mass than women, which burns more calories, even at rest.
  • Women burn more calories during pregnancy and lactation. But for non-pregnant women, metabolic rate and calorie burn is generally lower.
  • Hormones like testosterone and estrogen impact metabolic rate. Testosterone helps increase muscle mass.

For these reasons, men generally see a slightly higher overnight calorie burn of around 70-85 calories per hour slept versus 60-75 calories for most adult women. However, individual variance in body composition means the gap in calorie burn between the sexes is modest.

Body Size and Composition

Body size and body composition play important roles in determining how many calories you burn while catching Z’s. People who have more lean muscle mass tend to burn more calories overnight compared to those with higher body fat percentages. Why? Muscle tissue is more metabolically active and burns about 20 to 30% more calories per pound than fat tissue does.

Likewise, larger framed and heavier individuals need more energy (calories) at rest than smaller framed, lighter people to power basic functions. So in general, muscular mesomorphs and heavier people see more calorie burn during sleep.

Conversely, more petite people and those with higher body fat and lower lean mass percentages often burn fewer calories overnight. Improving your body composition by losing excess body fat and gaining more lean muscle can help ramp up metabolic rate and calorie burn 24/7.

Diet and Nutrition

What you eat and drink during the day impacts the number of calories you burn overnight during sleep. Consuming more protein positively influences calorie burn because your body uses more energy to digest and metabolize protein foods.

Some studies suggest eating more calories earlier in the day may ramp up metabolism better than eating heavily at night. Consuming a lot of empty calorie and sugary foods can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which may impair sleep. Poor sleep then leads to burning fewer calories.

Staying hydrated with water supports metabolic function and calorie burn as well. So a diet focused on lean proteins, complex carbs, healthy fats, and plenty of water is your best bet for keeping your calorie burn humming along nicely 24 hours a day.

Activity Levels and Exercise

People that are more physically active during the daytime tend to burn more calories while sleeping. Exercise helps build and maintain calorie-incinerating lean muscle mass. Being active also elevates your metabolism for longer after an exercise session. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC.

Burning more calories during intense workouts means your body needs more energy for recovery afterwards, which boosts calorie needs at night. Consistent exercise that raises your heart rate for 20-60 minutes daily can help you burn calories around the clock.

Health Status

Underlying health conditions may influence calorie burn during sleep in some cases. For example, overactive thyroid can raise metabolic rate and burn more calories. Infections, cancer, chronic pain, and other issues can also increase calorie needs.

Conversely, certain medications used to treat health conditions can potentially slow metabolic rate. Conditions like diabetes or PCOS may also impair metabolic function and calorie burn. So optimal health is key for keeping your 24/7 calorie burn at peak efficiency.

Sleep Habits and Quality

How deeply you sleep and how many hours you log each night influences calorie burn as well. Researchers have found getting insufficient shut-eye can lower resting metabolic rate, meaning your body burns fewer calories the following day after a poor night's sleep.

Disrupted sleep patterns and lack of REM deep sleep may impair glucose metabolism and increase insulin resistance. This can result in excess glucose being stored as fat instead of burned for energy. Poor sleep also spikes levels of the hormone ghrelin which stimulates appetite.

So getting enough hours of sound slumber each night helps your body burn calories optimally around-the-clock. See the section below for tips to improve sleep quality and burn more calories overnight.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Per Hour of Sleep?

As outlined above, calorie burn during sleep varies from person to person based on age, sex, weight, health, and other factors. However, most adults burn on average between 50 to 100 calories for every hour they are asleep.

To give you a general idea, here is an overview of the approximate calorie burn per hour slept for different groups:

  • Children ages 5-10 - 50 calories
  • Teen boys - 65 calories
  • Teen girls - 55 calories
  • Adult men - 70-85 calories
  • Adult women - 60-75 calories
  • Elderly adults - 45-65 calories

Again, these are just general estimates since many variables impact your resting metabolic rate and overnight calorie burn. But you can use these benchmarks to get a rough idea of where you may fall based on your age, sex, and activity levels.

If you want to determine your exact nightly calorie burn, you can use a calorie burn calculator online that will factor in your age, weight, height and other details. Or you can have an indirect calorimetry test done to scientifically measure your resting metabolic rate.

Do You Burn More Calories in REM or Deep Sleep?

When you sleep at night, your body cycles between rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. Non-REM consists of three stages ranging from light sleep to very deep sleep. You may be wondering - do you burn more calories in certain sleep stages than others?

Surprisingly, studies show calorie burn is fairly consistent across REM, light non-REM and deep non-REM sleep. However, how long you spend in each stage and how often you cycle between them can impact your energy burn. Spending more time in deep sleep and reaching REM optimizes rest so you burn calories better throughout the next day.

During REM sleep, your brain is highly active and dreams occur, but your body remains relaxed. Non-REM deep sleep is restorative for body and mind. Getting adequate time in both REM and deep sleep means you arise feeling refreshed and energized the next day.

If sleep is disrupted often during the night, you miss out on one stage more than others. For example, frequent awakenings can rob you of essential REM sleep. Insufficient deep sleep may occur if you do not allot enough total sleep time.

Poor quality sleep can negatively affect appetite and fat-burning hormones the next day. So getting balanced, high-quality sleep with sufficient time in each stage helps sustain peak calorie burning day and night.

Can Napping Help You Burn Extra Calories?

So can sneaking in a power nap help kick up your calorie burn? Research shows the answer is yes! Napping truly does torch some extra calories in addition to providing some great health benefits.

Even just 20-30 minutes of extra midday shut-eye can help you burn an additional 25-50 calories. While that may not seem like a ton, those small calorie burns can add up over time. Plus, the benefits of recharging with a brief catnap go beyond just the minor calorie burn.

Napping can help restore mental clarity and provide a much-needed energy boost to power you through the rest of your day. Being well-rested allows you to make healthier choices and be more active, both of which help you burn additional calories.

For most adults, limiting naps to 30 minutes prevents messing up your nighttime sleep. So find time to treat yourself to an occasional nap, knowing it provides calorie-burning and health benefits. Just be sure to keep naps brief and not too close to bedtime.

How Can Getting More Sleep Help You Burn More Calories?

You have probably heard that getting sufficient sleep is crucial for supporting a healthy body weight and metabolism. But you may wonder exactly how adequate sleep helps you burn more calories. There are several interconnected ways that good sleep supports a revved up calorie burn:

  • Sleeping enough each night helps regulate hormones that impact metabolism like cortisol, insulin, leptin and ghrelin. Poor sleep throws these fat-burning hormones out of whack.
  • Lack of sleep increases cravings for sugary, high-calorie foods the next day. Too little sleep also elevates appetite. These issues can result in overeating and consuming excess calories.
  • After an adequate night's sleep of 7-9 hours, your basal metabolic rate spikes due to restoration of optimal hormone balance, enabling your body to burn more calories at rest.
  • When you are well rested, you have more energy for physical activity and have an easier time sticking to workouts, further burning extra calories.
  • Good sleep improves insulin sensitivity so your body can process sugars for energy rather than store excess as body fat when you overeat or snack late.
  • Deep, high-quality sleep allows your body to function more efficiently, conserving energy expenditure so more calories can be burned while you are awake and active.

Poor sleep patterns and insufficient sleep duration have consistently been linked to increased risk of weight gain and obesity. So focusing on getting at least 7-9 hours of quality shut-eye each night can really help ramp up your calorie burn and support weight control.

10 Tips to Burn More Calories Overnight While You Sleep

Want to stoke your metabolic fire so you incinerate more calories while you sleep? Here are 10 proven tips for maximizing calorie burn overnight:

  1. Exercise regularly - Aim for 20-30 minutes daily of heart-pumping exercise to build more calorie-burning muscle mass. This elevates your metabolism long after your workout is over.
  2. Eat more protein - Increasing protein intake can boost the number of calories you burn overnight because protein takes more energy to digest.
  3. Drink more water - Proper hydration is key for optimal metabolic function. Being hydrated maximizes calorie burn.
  4. Manage stress - Chronic stress elevates cortisol which can impair metabolic rate. Stress-busting activities like yoga help reverse this effect.
  5. Optimize sleep habits - Going to bed and waking at consistent times, limiting blue light exposure at night, and making your bedroom cool and dark can all maximize calorie-burning sleep quality.
  6. Lose excess body fat - Carrying excess body fat can lower metabolic rate. As you trim fat through calorie-controlled eating and exercise, your sleep calorie burn will increase.
  7. Gain lean muscle - Building or maintaining lean muscle via strength training while losing fat is key for burning more calories day and night.
  8. Take a magnesium supplement - Magnesium helps regulate metabolism. Many adults are deficient in this key mineral.
  9. Try intermittent fasting - Alternating between fasting and eating may boost metabolic flexibility and overnight calorie burn.
  10. Get 7-9 hours nightly - Make sleep a priority and get at least 7 hours but no more than 9 for ideal metabolic health and calorie burning around the clock.

Making healthy lifestyle changes through smart nutrition, regular exercise, stress relief, and quality sleep sets you up for maximum calorie burning 24/7. So implement some of these research-backed tips to stoke your metabolic engines.

What's the Bottom Line on Calories Burned While You Sleep?

To summarize, you can see that your body does not actually rest metabolically while you sleep. Your resting metabolic rate causes you to burn calories continuously throughout the night to power basic unconscious functions. For most adults, that works out to 50-100 calories incinerated per hour slept.

However, calorie burn during sleep varies substantially from person to person based on a variety of factors. Your age, sex, weight, body composition, diet, activity levels, and health status all impact the size of your overnight calorie burn. Things like medications, underlying health conditions, and sleep habits also play a role.

While you cannot exactly control what goes on physiologically during slumber, you can optimize modifiable lifestyle factors. Engaging in regular activity, eating a balanced diet, managing stress, and getting enough nightly Zzzs will help you burn calories 24/7.

So take comfort knowing that when you drift off tonight, your body will keep working diligently behind the scenes to incinerate calories while you saw logs. Sweet Dreams!

Key Takeaways:

  • Adults burn around 50-100 calories per hour slept
  • Men and more muscular people burn more calories overnight
  • Diet, exercise, stress and health impact calorie burn
  • Poor sleep can impair calorie burning hormones
  • Get 7-9 hours nightly for ideal health and metabolism
  • Workouts, protein, hydration and sleep tips can maximize calorie burn

How many calories do you burn while sleeping?

The number of calories you burn while sleeping varies depending on several factors such as your weight, age, gender, and metabolism. On average, a person burns around 38 calories per hour during sleep.

How can I burn more calories during sleep?

While you cannot directly control the number of calories you burn while sleeping, there are a few things you can do to potentially increase your energy expenditure during sleep. Maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep, and practicing good sleep hygiene are factors that may affect how many calories you burn.

How do sleep habits affect how many calories you burn while sleeping?

Your sleep habits, such as the duration and quality of your sleep, can impact the number of calories you burn during sleep. For example, getting enough sleep and having a regular sleep schedule can contribute to better energy expenditure during sleep.

Can you burn calories when you sleep?

Yes, your body continues to burn calories even while you sleep. However, the amount of calories burned during sleep is generally lower compared to when you are physically active.

How can I sleep better to burn the most calories?

To improve your sleep quality and potentially enhance calorie burn during sleep, it's important to establish a regular sleep routine, create a comfortable sleep environment, and practice good sleep hygiene. This includes avoiding caffeine and electronic devices close to bedtime and ensuring you get enough sleep.

How many calories are burned while sleeping?

As mentioned earlier, the number of calories burned while sleeping can vary depending on individual factors. On average, a person burns around 38 calories per hour during sleep. Over the course of a night's sleep, this can add up to several hundred calories.

What role does energy expenditure during sleep play in calorie burn?

Energy expenditure during sleep refers to the number of calories your body uses while at rest during the sleep cycle. While the calories burned during sleep account for a smaller portion of your daily energy expenditure compared to physical activity, it still contributes to overall calorie burn.

How can I increase the number of calories burned during sleep?

While you can't directly control the number of calories burned during sleep, adopting healthy lifestyle habits can potentially increase your overall calorie burn. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and following a balanced diet are factors that can indirectly affect calorie burn during sleep.

How many calories do I burn in my sleep?

The number of calories you burn during sleep can vary depending on your individual characteristics such as weight, age, and metabolism. On average, a person burns around 38 calories per hour while sleeping.

What factors contribute to the amount of calories you burn while sleeping?

Many different factors contribute to the amount of calories burned while sleeping. These include factors such as your weight, age, gender, metabolism rate, and overall health. Additionally, the duration and quality of your sleep can also affect calorie burn during sleep.

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