A Do-Nothing Way to Increase Metabolism

Medically reviewed in January 2022

Do nothing and burn more calories? Seems too good to be true. But here's the way to make it so: Go to bed earlier for a good night’s sleep.

A recent study revealed that people had significantly slower metabolisms the morning after a sleepless night.

Slow, Sleepy Metabolisms
In the study, male college students participated in two different sleep experiments. One group got a good night's sleep -- about 8 hours -- while the other group stayed awake all night. And the morning after, researchers found that the metabolic rate of the all-nighters was about 20% lower during breakfast digestion. Not only that, but also the people who didn't get any sleep had higher blood sugar levels, higher stress hormones, and more hunger-triggering ghrelin in their systems. And, not surprisingly, they felt hungrier the morning after not sleeping.

Energy Influence
We know from other research that subpar sleep comes with a greater risk of weight gain. But this study offers insight into some possible reasons why, highlighting the way that sleep affects our metabolic rate -- the rate at which our bodies burn calories -- as well as a whole bunch of body systems linked to energy levels and hormones that can influence our eating habits. (Trying to lose weight? Aim to get this much sleep to increase metabolism and get the best fat-loss results.)

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