Sleeping metabolic rate in relation to body mass index and body composition

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002 Mar;26(3):376-83. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0801922.


Objectives: To determine whether patterns of sleeping metabolic rate (SMR) are altered in obesity. Specifically to determine the relationship between changes in SMR and body weight, body mass index (BMI, kg/m(2)), and fat-free mass (FFM); and to compare resting metabolic rate (RMR) with SMR during different periods of sleep.

Subjects: Eighteen healthy, pre-menopausal, obese (BMI >30, n=9) and non-obese (BMI <30, n=9), female subjects (six Caucasians and 12 African-Americans), with an average age of 36 y (range 22-45).

Measurements: Total energy expenditure (TEE or 24 h EE), metabolic rate (MR), SMR (minimum, average and maximum) and resting metabolic rate (RMR) or resting energy expenditure (REE) measured by human respiratory chamber, and external mechanical work measured by a force platform within the respiratory chamber. Physical activity index (PAL) was derived as TEE/REE. Body composition was determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA).

Results: SMR decreased continuously during sleep and reached its lowest point just before the subject was awakened in the morning by the research staff. Although averages for RMR and SMR were similar, RMR was lower than SMR at the beginning of the sleeping period and higher than SMR in the morning hours. The rate of decrease in SMR was faster with increasing body weight (-0.829, P<0.0001), BMI (correlation factor -0.896, P<0.0001) and FFM (-0.798, P=0.001). The relationship between the slope of SMR decrease and BMI (y=-5 x 10(-6)x(2)+0.0002x-0.0028) is highly significant, with a P-value of <0.0001 and r(2) value of 0.9622.

Conclusions: The rate of decline in metabolic rate during sleep is directly related to body weight, BMI and FFM. Average SMR tends to be lower than RMR in obese subjects and higher than RMR in non-obese subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Basal Metabolism*
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Physical Exertion
  • Premenopause
  • Sleep / physiology*