How Many Calories Do You Burn While Sleeping?

Have you ever wondered how many calories are burned while sleeping? Yes, you burn calories when you sleep. After all, your brain and certain body systems are actively working all the time. 

Sure, diet, exercising, fidgeting, and cardio are all good ways to burn calories. But did you know that you can also use the power of sleep to your benefit and burn more calories? – Only if you get good quality and enough sleep.

Even though sleeping needs much less energy than most day-time activities, it is still a time when your body and brain are actively working. 

Read on as we explain how many calories are burned while sleeping. We'll also explore a few tips to make the most of your sleep to burn your calories. 

What Is Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)? 

Ever heard of BMR? When we sleep, we are the most at rest, and our caloric expenditure is based on this. But what exactly is it?

BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate, is the amount of energy needed to maintain basic biological functions while at rest, such as blood circulation, breathing, keeping your heart beating, digesting food, and regulating body temperature. 

Yes, that's true. Even if you're just sitting and zoning out, you need to burn some calories. That's what we call BMR, and it makes up roughly two-thirds of the daily caloric expenditure.

Some people have higher BMIs, and some have lower. However, this variability is rarely the cause of a person's leanness or obesity. For most individuals, the BMR makes up about 80% of the total calories they burn during the day. 

The more you weigh, the more calories your body is burning at rest. Basal metabolic rate can vary over time. It may elevate if you're building muscle mass, losing weight, or getting sick.

In fact, one reason dieters struggle to keep off their excess weight is because their metabolism slows down.

Can You Burn Calories While Sleeping? 

Yes, you burn approximately 50 calories per hour while sleeping. However, the specific number of calories burned is determined by a person's basal metabolic rate.

While the idea may seem really far-fetched, a growing body of research shows that losing weight while sleeping is actually possible. 

In fact, the Sleep Foundation has confirmed that sleep does help in weight loss, and not getting enough of it can hinder your progress. 

While snoozing at night, your body's BMR is still active; thus, you continue to burn calories. But, the amount of calories burned during sleeping is typically smaller than when awake and active.

Obviously, that's because you are not engaging in physical activity or performing extra tasks that require more energy.

So, know that you burn slightly more calories lying awake in bed than you do snoozing. About 37% more calories are burned by lying awake in bed or on the couch than by sleeping.

So, How Many Calories Are Burned While Sleeping?

In general, you burn roughly 50 calories every hour when you're sleeping, depending on body weight and other factors. But remember that this figure will vary from person to person based on BMR or basal metabolic rate. 

For instance, a 155-pound person who sleeps 8 hours a night will burn about 300 calories while asleep. 

How To Calculate The Number Of Calories You Burn While Sleeping?

If you want to know how many calories you burn during your sleep, you need first to calculate your hourly BMR. Then multiply that by the number of hours you sleep before reducing the figure by 15%. 

Here's the basic formula to calculate your BMR: 

  • For women: BMR = 665.1 + (4.34 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.68 x age in years)
  • For men: BMR = 66.47 + (6.24 x weight in lbs) + (12.71 x height in inches) – (6.78 x age in years)

After finding your exact BMR, you can now easily calculate the number of calories you burn while sleeping. Here's the formula: 

  • Calories burned while sleeping = (BMR / 24) x no. of hours asleep x 0.85

Note that these calculations provide only a rough estimate of your BMR and calories burned while sleeping. 

Let's understand this by taking an example. Assume you're a 30-year-old woman. Your height and weight are 140 pounds and 5 ft 5 in, respectively. 

Using the above formula, your BMR would be:

BMR = 665.1 + (4.34 x140 ) + (4.7 x 65) – (4.68 x 30) = 1437.8

Now let's find the number of calories burned when you're sleeping: 

Calories burned while sleeping = (1437.8 / 24) x 8 hours x 0.85 = 407.3 calories 

So, that means you burn 407.3 calories when you sleep. 

If you're still confused and wondering how to calculate it, you can use the online calculator to get a rough estimate of the calories you burn while sleeping. 

Factors That Affect Calories Burned During Sleeping 

As said earlier, there's no exact figure that determines the amount of calories burned while sleeping because it depends on many factors, including: 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Weight and height
  • Body composition
  • Diet 
  • Quantity and quality of sleep 
  • Genetics 
  • Physical activity levels 
  • Hormones 
  • Health conditions like hyperthyroidism
  • Fitness 

As you can see, some of these factors are beyond our control. There are helpful things you can do to increase your metabolism while at rest, even though you cannot go back in time or alter your DNA. 

Tips To Increase The Number Of Calories You Burn During Sleep

Now that you know you can actually burn calories while sleeping. But how can you maximize this effect? The only thing you need to do is increase your BMR (basal metabolic rate). 

Here are some health experts' tips and suggestions to help you make the most of your sleep, burn more calories and fats, and improve your overall sleep quality. 

i) Get enough sleep.

First up is getting adequate sleep. Sleeping more won't necessarily boost your metabolism, but insufficient sleep can slow it down. 

Many people do not sleep enough due to their hectic lifestyles. But frankly, it's very unhealthy not to get seven hours of sleep daily. To keep your weight in check, both the quality and quantity of your sleep are important. 

Our brain burns significantly more calories during REM sleep. That being said, sleep disturbances that impact the time consumed in this phase can affect the calories you burn.

So, you have to make sure to get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises that adults between the ages of 18 and 60 years get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Doing this will help your body go through the stages of sleep naturally and increase your metabolism while you're asleep. 

ii) Do bodyweight workouts.

People who are physically active are likely to burn more calories than those who don't. Physical activities like cardio workouts or running can speed up your metabolic rate; hence, you’ll burn more calories after workout sessions.

According to health experts, strength training can enhance your metabolism. This means that even when your body is at rest, i.e., while you sleep, lifting weights can help you burn more calories.

In addition, doing workouts can increase your muscle mass, which increases your body's metabolic rate, resulting in greater calorie burning. 

To speed up your metabolism before going to bed, try performing a quick strength training session in the evening. You can do 10 minutes of squats or push-ups before bedtime and then a 30-second plank. You can also walk in the backyard or around your room 1 lunge at a time. 

So, start exercising and keep up with your routine if you plan to burn more calories while you sleep. Just be sure to schedule your exercise so that it ends at least 3 hours before going to bed. 

iii) Sleep in a darker and cooler environment.

Sleeping in a calm and darker setting makes your body work harder to maintain its basal temperature. This results in an increase in the amount of calories burned. It can also improve your metabolism and activate brown fats.

Brown fats are adipose tissue that keeps you warm when you feel cold. They burn calories to produce heat during your sleep. 

Moreover, if you sleep in a darker room, your body releases the hormone known as melatonin, which helps regulate sleep, body temperature, and blood pressure

To begin with, set your regulator or thermostat to approximately 65° F (or 18.3° C). By making this simple adjustment, you may reduce your risk of diabetes and burn 7 to

8% more calories as you sleep. 

Another thing you can do is sleep naked, as it helps you sleep better and has lots of benefits. This routine may help you burn more calories by keeping you cool throughout the night.

Moreover, it triggers the release of a hormone called oxytocin, which promotes relaxation. So make sure to maintain the room temperature and allow your body to do the work while you rest. 

iv) Eat healthy and a little throughout the day. 

Try to eat a little and often. This will keep your metabolism active and will ensure your body continues burning fat during the night as well. Of course, you need to pick healthy and nutritious food choices for this approach to work.

Eating less and more healthily will also keep your appetite in check and will reduce your cravings when you wake up the next morning. 

v) Eat a small dinner.

As a famous nutritionist, Adele David, said, “Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, and dinner like a Pauper.” If you think about it, it actually makes so much sense.

Eating right before bedtime can make your body preserve excess calories as fat instead of burning them for energy. Eating too much right before sleeping will take up your body's energy trying to digest rather than recharging and detoxing. 

Hence, focus on the smaller dinner so that you’ll have room for your next day’s meal. If you have a high appetite, consume more in breakfast and lunch. 

One study discovered that people who had a late-night meal broke down less fat than when they had the same quantity of calories during the day. So make sure to keep your dinner light, but never go to sleep with an empty stomach, either. 

vi) Stay away from gadgets before bedtime.  

Keep all your gadgets—tablets, mobile phones, laptops, TVs, iPads—away from your bed. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted from these devices at night increases insulin resistance and hunger.

This obviously leads to weight gain, not just the disruption of your body's fat-burning power. So, say no to blue-light devices before you sleep. 

vii) Go to bed early. 

Make a habit of sleeping as early as possible. This will ensure that your body is getting time to rest and fall into your body's circadian rhythm, things that contribute to weight loss. 

Start by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. If you're struggling to fall asleep early, you can try soothing activities like taking a shower and performing decent yoga before snoozing.

You can also use body pillows to make you comfortable while sleeping. Also, keep the room dark, cool, and free of gadgets. Always keep your favorite book on your bedside table to help you unwind.

viii) Increase your protein intake. 

Regularly feeding your body with lots of protein accelerates your metabolism all day and night. As we all know, protein is for building muscles, keeping you full, and maintaining your appetite. 

This simply means you may burn more calories during sleep by eating protein before bedtime. At the end of the day, a protein-rich diet can speed up your metabolism and make it easier to lose weight.

So try eating eggs, meat, dairy products, or even protein bars, which can work too! 

The Bottom Line 

From this blog, we learned that our body continuously burns calories involuntarily. We also explained how many calories are burned while sleeping. On average, a person burns approximately 0.42 calories per pound of body weight per hour during sleep.

Apparently, the burn is minimal—roughly 50 calories per hour. Many factors may affect the number of calories burned, including age, weight, and health condition (if any). 

On a serious note, focusing on calorie burn while sleeping is not the best approach for weight loss. To be more specific, you need to eat a well-balanced diet, workout regularly, stay hydrated, and be active throughout the day.

Getting quality sleep is beneficial for your overall physical and mental well-being and not just calorie-burning.  

So our advice is to improve your sleep habits and bedtime routine. Implement the tips we mentioned above, and the results will follow! 


1. How many calories do you burn in 8 hours of sleep?

Ans: Generally, a person can burn 40 to 80 calories per hour. So, if we calculate, you can burn around 320 to 640 calories in 8 hours of sleep at night. 

2. Is it true you burn 500 calories while sleeping? 

Ans: Yes. You can burn between 320 to 640 while sleeping for at least 8 hours at night. 

3. How many calories do you burn while sleeping vs being awake?

Ans: You burn more calories awake than sleep. It's estimated that while you sleep, your basal metabolic rate—the number of calories you burn merely to maintain your essential bodily functions—is 15% lower than when you're resting awake.

4. Do you lose weight awake or asleep? 

Ans: Since we burn more calories when awake, skipping one night of sleep causes us to burn more calories temporarily. 

5. What burns fat while you sleep?

Ans: Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at a steady room temperature (65 degrees Fahrenheit) helps you burn fat while you sleep. 

6. What position should I sleep in to lose belly fat? 

Ans: Sleeping on your back has proven to be the best sleep position to lose fat. However, any position that's comfortable and helps you get enough sleep is good for losing your belly fat.

7. Does sleeping help you lose weight? 

Ans: Yes, If you maintain your sleeping habits for a longer duration, it can help you lose some weight over time. 

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Oliver Nelson

Oliver Nelson is a New York based Health Specialist Writer who completed his graduation from Syracuse University back in 2015. His writings were published in the top Healthcare brands in the United States.

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