Boost Metabolism While You Sleep

I’m Dr. Michael Olpin. Let me help you get rid of your stress … for good.

Article Highlights

  • Process of energy metabolism is explained
  • As the body adapts to an increase in exercise, metabolism skyrockets
  • The best way to train your body to use stored fuel is through exercise

Remember in biology class when you learned about the parts of the cell and you wondered why you had to know this stuff?

Really, when would you ever use this information in real life?

Well here it is.


The Powerful Mitochondria

Inside of the cell is the “powerhouse,” organelle known as the mitochondria. Mitochondria produce the energy that a cell needs to perform its functions; divide, move, etc. In cells that are not required to do very much work,(such as an unfit muscle cell), there is one, wimpy mitochondria. It doesn’t provide much energy. It just hangs around, bored and out of shape. To make matters worse, the fuel lines (arteries and capillaries) to these kinds of cells are usually out of shape, plaque ridden, and few and far between. These conditions lead to some lonely, bored, and depressed mitochondria.

Then one day, the woman in whose body these cells reside decides to get up and move a bit. Let’s call her Suzy. At first the cells don’t take Suzy seriously. They think she is just running to the refrigerator so the mitochondria grab the stored fuel in the cell to get her there, (remember ATP?) But it runs out immediately and she is still moving. Next they go for other sources of fuel in the cell, and then the glucose (sugar), but there’s not much of that either.

As Suzy continues to move, the cells send messages to the brain telling it that they need more fuel. After a while, the brain reluctantly sends a message to the fat cells to release some of the reserves. But this fuel has a hard time making it to the mitochondria. Suzy hasn’t exercised in a long time and her arteries are not equipped to handle the load. To make matters worse, cells need oxygen to convert the fat into fuel. Not only are Suzy’s lungs unable to absorb the extra oxygen from the air she breathes, but her blood is unable to ship it to where it is needed.

Suzy tires out quickly. She is out of breath and overwhelmed with the loud complaints coming from the muscles in the form of aches and pains. Her brain however, realizes that if she keeps doing this she will be stronger which furthers the chance of her survival, so it rewards her with “feel good” chemicals called endorphins (lovingly referred to as the “morphine within”). These endorphins will actually reduce pain and help her feel good.

What Happens at Night

Suzy is exhausted, so she goes to bed early and sleeps well that night, BUT HER BODY DOESN’T! It is busy repairing the damage that she did to it while she was exercising. This repair work requires energy, which burns a lot of calories, maybe even more calories than she burned while exercising! While Suzy sleeps, the body, which doesn’t like to be caught off guard, is worried that she might try this exercise thing again tomorrow. SUZY’S METABOLISM SKYROCKETS as cells are repaired and waste products are eliminated.

As the days go by and Suzy continues to exercise, her body is trained to burn more and more fat while it creates her new look. Her body is forming new arteries, creating new muscle tissue, and shifting some of the fat from around her waist to inside of her muscles where it is needed. Best of all, the mitochondria in each cell have doubled. Now they are efficient, competent, and not so lonely mitochondria. Suzy is literally full of energy.


People often say, “I have a slow metabolism.” Then I say, “okay, change it.” The best way to boost your metabolic rate is to train the body to become an efficient, fuel releasing, fuel burning machineTHROUGH EXERCISE.

There are other things that can boost metabolism temporarily, but the overall effects are not even close to what exercise can do for you.

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  1. Ryne Barrington

    It really is amazing how quickly your body remembers what it is supposed to do if you have been an avid exerciser and quit for a while. It seems to me that it is much easier to get back into routine. It only makes sense that your body needs time to recouperate and would do so while you were doing the least amount of destruction – while sleeping.

  2. Chelsey Helleksen

    This really is helpful because I feel like all I do while I sleep is hold in calories and gain weight. It it good to know there is a way to change that!

  3. Sharlee Larsen

    It is amazing to read all of these articles. Everything that is good for us is so incredibly SIMPLE! We just have to be smart about it and make a conscious effort. No, exercise isn’t necessarily easy or “fun” but if you do it (which I am trying to be better at) your body will love you, and therefore you will love your body 🙂

  4. Lacey Kap

    I loved this article! It really helps to put metabolism and the roles that cells play in perspective. It was a very creative article and despite how many times I tried to remember the functions of the cells in our body in chemistry class I couldn’t, but I’m pretty sure that I will after learning about them in a way that is applicable to my life!

  5. Emily

    I LOVE this analogy! I have heard this explained before, but never has it really made sense. Thank you!!!

  6. KarLee

    I find this article so helpful. I love that it makes me feel like I am not being so lazy when I do take a break to get some sleep.

  7. Melinda Fults

    It is amazing to me how much exercise actually helps with sleeping as well as your metabolism. I personally have had a hard time with exercising but after reading this article it has explained to me why I need to exercise and that I hope that if I do this that it will not only help me with my sleep and how I feel but will also help my stress level to decrease or I will be able to deal with stress better.

  8. kenzlie rasmussen

    I really love learning about tricky little things like this, they really help me in understanding what the body really does and how it functions. Our bodies really are amazing the way they work and I love knowing that there are little tricks like this.

  9. Wendy Danielson

    I knew there was a reason that the stuff they were trying to teach us in biomed was important! This article really made a lot of sense out of things that didn’t make sense before. It explained it very clearly – better than my anatomy and physiology classes.

  10. Michelle Shafer

    Thank you, this article puts scientific findings into words that are easy to understand. I also found “Why Diets Don’t Work,” and “Release the Grease,” helpful and inspiring.

  11. Karla

    I loved this article. It makes me want to get my mitochondria in shape. This totally makes sense to me.

  12. Keera Nielson

    I really enjoyed that this article helped me to understand that even while I exercise during the day that my body will still be working at night. It also amazes me that if you exercise you are able to get a more restful sleep the if you didn’t exercise.