How many calories do you burn when sleeping?

Every day you burn calories according to the activity you are doing but how many calories do you burn when sleeping? You may be surprised just how many calories you do burn when you are asleep. The things you do during waking hours does have an effect your metabolism. Your metabolism and a few other factors will determine calories burned during sleeping.

how many calories do you burn when sleeping

Your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate is a measurement that can help you calculate the energy you expend while at rest (not necessarily sleeping) while in a neutral state after your body has finished digestion and in a thermally neutral state. Knowing your BMR can help you get a feel for how many calories your body burns just by “being”. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) are used interchangeably but they are technically different as BMR uses a precise formula and RMR is calculated by knowing a few key variables (height, weight, age, gender).  The BMR calculator includes activity level.

The BMR formula

Women’s BMR formula – 655+(4.5 x weight in lbs.) +(4.7 x height in inches) – 4.7 x age in years)

Men’s BMR formula – 66 +(6.23 x weight in lbs.) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

Add in activity level

If you are sedentary (little to no exercise) BMR x 1.2

If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) BMR x 1.375

If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) BMR x 1.55

If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/week) BMR x 1.725

If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports/physical job or 2 x training) BMR x 1.9


You can also use this calculator:Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Daily Calorie Needs – Calculator Online (Harris-Benedict equation)

Increase your calorie burn while sleeping

You will burn calories every day whether you are just sitting, driving, reading, running, eating, walking or whatever you are doing even sleeping. Your BMR accounts for approximately 75% of your daily caloric burn.

For sleeping, on average you burn about .42 calories per pound of body weight for every hour you sleep. This means that a 200 lb. person burns about 84 calories for every hour of sleep. A 120 lb person burns about 50 calories per hour of sleep. In an 8 hour period of sleeping a 120 lb. person will burn approximately 400 calories. There are things that affect this rate.

DigestionHow many calories do you burn when sleeping

While you are sleeping you are digesting any food you have consumed during waking hours. This activity takes energy. If you eat a large meal just before bedtime you may not sleep well as you may be uncomfortable and have heartburn or indigestion. Digestion is a form of catabolism (breaking down) and needs the energy to get the food into a form the body can absorb. You can increase your metabolism by spreading your meals throughout the day into 5 or 6 small meals. This will also help keep you satisfied. Drink plenty of water to aid digestion and boost metabolism. Cold water is best as your body uses energy to bring it to body temperature. It is also thought that green tea help increase metabolism and also milk possibly.

Deep Sleep

There are 5 stages of sleep and each phase you go deeper and deeper.  There are basic phases of sleep – REM and non-REM sleep. When you are in REM you burn more calories. Your mind is active and your eyes move back and forth. You dream during this phase and requires energy to do so.  It is important you get to this level of sleep. The 5 stages last around 90 to 110 minutes. You cycle like this during the hours you are sleeping. Getting a good nights sleep will help you burn more calories while sleeping.  How sleep affects metabolism goes more in-depth why we need a good nights sleep.

TemperatureHow many calories do you burn when sleeping

If you sleep in a cool environment you will burn more calories also. Your body will work to maintain body heat.  Research has shown that in response to cold white fat cells take on the role of brown fat and burn energy.  In a recent study, after a month of mild cold participants had a 42% increase in brown fat and a 10% increase in fat metabolism. They also had improved insulin sensitivity. After prolonged exposure to mild cold, they also had significant changes in the metabolic hormones Leptin and Adiponectin. They did not have changes in caloric intake or body composition.

Lean muscle

How much lean muscle you have is a very significant factor in your metabolism. After the age of 30 or so, we start a downward trend of losing muscle mass. Those who are physically inactive will lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade. This is called age-related sarcopenia. Even if you are active you will still lose muscle mass as time passes. It is important that you strength train with weights or resistance bands.

Building muscle will do wonders for your metabolism not to mention all the other benefits such as looking great, keeping you strong and agile, good stamina and a host of other benefits.Training with weights is the key to metabolism boosting your body to burn fat all the time 24 hours a day.How many calories do you burn when sleeping

To get to the answer of how many calories do you burn when sleeping, multiply your body weight by .042. Then multiply that by how many hours you sleep. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs. then 150 x 0 .42 = 63 calories per hour. If you sleep 8 hours then 6.3 x 8 = 504 calories while sleeping! This figure is only a rule of thumb. There are many variables including gender. However, just by knowing a few things like the ones I have mentioned above, you can increase your calorie burn by implementing some of the suggestions.

If you are a woman over 50 I cannot stress enough the importance of building muscle. It is never too late to start.

If you have an experience you would like to share or if you have questions or comments on this article please leave me a comment below.

This article has 12 Comments

  1. Excellent information you have here. I will be the first to admit I didn’t know you burnt calories while sleeping. That’s interesting. Maybe I should sleep more. It’s also good to know its various levels of sleep to. This is all new and very exciting to me. I will share on all of my social media sites. Thank you

    1. Hi healthguy33,

      Thank you for finding my article about how many calories do you burn when sleeping interesting. I am so glad you learned how important sleep is and I do hope you get to sleep more.

      It is important to get to REM stage of sleep for effective calorie burning. It also is so important overall for our health and well being to be able to sleep well.

      I hope you check out my tips for sleeping well also.

  2. Interesting article Cynthia on the amount of calories you burn while sleeping. It looks like you burn quite a bit less calories while sleeping than while awake — I suppose it makes sense. I wonder if this fact has anything to do with the common belief that eating late at night is a cause for fat gain. Thanks for the read.

    1. Hi Paul,

      Thank You. I am so glad you enjoyed reading How many calories do you burn when Sleeping and found it interesting. Yes, it does make sense that we do in fact burn more calories when awake. Hopefully we are moving about more when awake than when asleep.

      The common belief about not eating late at night is a factor in fat gain. I believe it can disturb our sleep and when we don’t sleep well our cortisol level could increase causing fat gain.

      Its important to get a good nights sleep to help burn fat. It has also been found that a fasting period of about 12 hours is important to help with fat burning also.

  3. I really enjoyed this article! So much that I did not realize and am happy to know!

    These are excellent tips to follow – I’m always interested in burning as many calories as I can! I was especially interested in your article about how sleep affects metabolism because I’ve always had some difficulty with getting enough sleep.

    You bring up a great point about the importance of building muscle as we age. I really need to get into that more because I am definitely not as active as I should be. If anything I do some cardio, but I would also like to start doing some strength training as you suggest. I know I will look and feel better!

    Thank you for reminding me about the importance of exercise at this age, especially muscle building!

    I wish you all the best,


    1. Hi Anna,

      Thank you for your positive comments. I am glad you enjoyed reading about how sleep affects metabolism and strength training for women over 50. It is so important.

      I really like weight lifting for building muscle and I hope you begin to implement this into your exercise routine. It is very good that you are doing cardio! I am a big advocate of exercise as we age as I believe it keeps you vibrant and youthful with lots of energy and strength.

      There are so many other health benefits too such as natural pain relief, lowering blood pressure, bone building just to name a few.

  4. Thank you so much for this post ! It explained a lot.
    I really liked the comment referring to insulin sensitivity.
    It is important to get a good nights sleep to help with that.
    I loved your tips on sleeping well also.

    1. Hi Lee,
      Thank you for your comment regarding my article how many calories do you burn when sleeping. I am glad I was able to shed some light for you. Yes insulin sensitivity something that sometimes gets overlooked.

  5. This is really interesting to know because I had no idea that we burn calories when we are sleeping.
    At least it’s beneficial to sleep without physical exercise and still burn calories.
    The one thing you mentioned is about eating too close to bedtime which I never do. I sometimes have trouble with sleeping and I don’t need a heavy meal in me before bedtime.
    I like the fact that you burn more calories in a cooler environment because I don’t like it hot when I’m trying to get to sleep. Thank you for facts about burning calories that I didn’t know!

    1. Hi Rob,

      Thanks for your comment. I am glad I was able to help you see just how great it is to burn calories while you sleep! It does help to exercise and be physically active to boost your metabolism to burn even more calories when sleeping but if not you are still burning calories 24/7!

      I really love sleeping when the temperature is very cool. I don’t eat after 6 pm either. I am like you I cannot go to sleep with a heavy stomach and sleep through the night. 

      Many Blessings and great sleep to you!

  6. Interesting information you have here! I didn’t know that you’re actually burning calories in your sleep. I always thought that whenever you’re resting so is your calories, because you’re not moving or even sweating. But it’s good to know these too. Thanks for these info. I’m trying to get back to being active in the gym these days plus watching my food intake but now I will also be able to check my calorie burn at sleep, so I’ll be more in tune with my body.

    1. Hi Juicing Fan,

      Thanks for your comment. 

      Yes it’s true, we all burn calories when we are asleep! Our metabolism keeps on ticking. You have the right idea, when we exercise we boost our metabolism and can burn even more calories when we sleep!

      I am proud of you getting back to exercising. Let me know how you are doing. I think once you get back to doing it, it is much easier to keep going. You are on the right track, watching your food intake and getting back into the gym.

      Best of Luck to you,


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