Image via Shutterstock

It’s about to be that time of year when you start crafting your New Year’s resolution. Now that you’ve figured out the exact amount of sleep time you need in order to perform your cognitive best, it might also be helpful to know when your body’s metabolism is at its peak.

In a new study published in the Current Biology journal, a team of researchers set out to discover the time of day when the human body naturally burns the most calories.

The scientists suggest that metabolism goes hand-in-hand with circadian rhythms, which control the body clock, as well as your sleep and wake cycles.

Notably, the test focused on just seven subjects, but the team details that a small sample allowed them to conduct in-depth experiments that observed everything from the participants’ diets to light exposure.

For 37 days, the group of men and women spanning ages 38 to 69 lived in a lab without internet, phones, clocks or windows. This ensured that the study wouldn’t be rigged by environmental disruptions.

Each day, the team moved the participants’ bedtimes by four hours, forcing the people’s circadian rhythms to function on internal factors, as well as enabled the researchers to pinpoint the true biological morning, afternoon, and night times of the body.

What they discovered was that at rest, the human body burns approximately 10-percent, or about 130, more calories in the late afternoon than it does at night.

However, as the research narrows in on the number of calories burned during inactivity, the scientists haven’t concluded if shifting your meals or workouts around this schedule might help. The findings here are preliminary, and more experimentation will be required to figure out how they could affect individuals.

[via Time, cover image via Shutterstock]

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