Knowledge sleep study shift workers

Published on April 14th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria


Is Shift Work Making You Fat? Study Examines Messed Up Sleep Schedules and Obesity

sleep study shift workers

For a while now, researchers have been examining the link between sleep deprivation and weight gain, and previous studies have found that it appears your body makes up for what it misses in sleep in excess calories, sometimes to the tune of an entire Big Mac a day.

While the factors that influence obesity are legion, it seems that sleep may be one particular controllable facet of our lives to which we should be more cognizant when watching weight. A study recently published in Science Translational Medicine tracked 21 participants, monkeying with their sleep schedules in such a way that one might be tempted to call Amnesty International.

While volunteers were initially given ten hours to sleep during standard sleep times, soon researchers began subtracting hours from their allotment and having them sleep at odd hours and during the day- much like many medical and retail workers who work through the night. What they discovered was that within a short period, metabolisms in participants slowed, and some even became pre-diabetic within a few weeks. Researchers extrapolate that such conditions could lead to weight gain of more than ten lbs. in a single year without a change in diet and exercise. 

The researchers wrote:

“The 8% drop in resting metabolic rate that we measured in our participants… translates into a 12.5-pound increase in weight over a single year.”

Lead researcher Dr. Orfeu Buxton commented:

“We think these results support the findings from studies showing that, in people with a pre-diabetic condition, shift workers who stay awake at night are much more likely to progress to full-on diabetes than day workers… The evidence is clear that getting enough sleep is important for health, and that sleep should be at night for best effect.”

Researchers recommended more attention given to the health effects of shift work and alternate sleep schedules.



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About the Author

Kim LaCapria is a writer and editor based in New York. A longtime information junkie, she began blogging full-time at the Inquisitr in 2009. Prior to that, she worked as a marketing assistant in the cosmetics and skincare industry. In addition to her writing for fortytwotimes, she also writes for Medacity and The Inquisitr. Kim is also a contributor for SocialNewsDaily, Indyposted, and TotallyMoney. In the past, she contributed to Lipstick and Luxury and managed social media accounts and blogs for several small and mid-sized businesses.

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