Obesity and the Night ShiftPosted: October 25, 2017 in News by Craig Primack MD FACP
Productivity never sleeps, and this is partially thanks to the many people who head into work every night to take care of their job while the rest of us sleep. The night shift certainly isn’t for everyone, but for those who opt to head to work at dusk instead of dawn and to catch up on sleep while the sun is out, the night shift is just a regular day at work.
Unfortunately, this alternative schedule may be contributing to your difficulty to lose weight.
The Night Shift Associated with Higher Obesity Rates
Those who work a night shift instead of a more traditional daytime shift are significantly more likely to be obese or overweight than their counterparts. The findings are actually quite significant. Simply working the night shift time to time increases your risk of being overweight by almost 15 percent. Working the night shift for a short duration, like for a few months before you rotate back to morning shifts, increases your likelihood of being overweight by about 23 percent. But if you are a night worker through and through, a long-term night shifter who has given up the idea of waking up at dawn and commits to being busy through the moonlight hours, then your risk of being overweight or obese skyrockets up to almost 50 percent higher than the average daytime worker.
Researchers merely investigated the correlation, they didn’t look too deeply into why this connection was occurring. But the reasons as to why night workers may be more likely to struggle with excess weight probably comes down to the same reasons why anyone else struggles with excess weight: lifestyle choices.
There are a few unhealthy habits that significantly increase your risk of being overweight or obese. These include eating fast food, not exercising, and not getting enough sleep. Night workers are a bit more susceptible to these lifestyle missteps. When you work nights, you are a lot more likely to rely on fast food for dinner, which is typically the biggest meal of the day. Also, driving home from work in the morning after being awake all night makes it difficult to resist fast food once again for breakfast. Eating that meal and then attempting to go to sleep is extra difficult for your health and weight loss goals. What’s more, many people who work the nightshift still need to consider day-time tasks, like childcare and household chores, and having to take care of these concerns cuts into one’s sleeping time.
If you work the night shift, then you may be more susceptible to weight gain than others. Working with a medical weight loss program can help you make the changes in your lifestyle necessary to help you achieve your weight loss goals.