Can Working Night Shift Put You at Risk for Obesity?

Sure, night shift sucks. We know that it throws off your sleep schedule. You start to feel livelier in the dead of the night than you do when the sun shines. You probably feel sluggish during the day when you are awake. And, it’s no fun missing out on everything during the day because you need to sleep. But does it suck so bad that it may actually harm your health? According to an analysis of 28 studies published in Obesity Reviews in October 2017, working the night shift may not be good for your body. In fact, night shift and obesity may go hand in hand.

What Does Science Say, Exactly?

fast food worker overnight shift obesity
Source: Mr. Blue MauMau via Flickr

According to the analysis, 0.7 billion workers have more of a night shift pattern of work than the typical 9 to 5. The results from the 28 studies researchers analyzed were interesting. They pointed toward there being some type of link between people who work the night shift and being overweight. However, the analysis didn’t provide any in-depth reasons as to why that might be the case. Instead, researchers simply found that those who worked night shift were more overweight than those who didn’t. And, those who continuously work night shift were also more at risk than those who had rotating shifts.

Do the Results Mean Anything?

Sleeping during the day
Source: Pixabay

Although we can’t really say that working night shift will make you obese, we can conclude that the research is onto something. After all, there is plenty of other research that has shown that disrupted sleep patterns and lack of sleep can make you more prone to obesity. One study in The American Journal of Human Biology proved that a lack of sleep can affect the brain and your body’s hormones that regulate just about every aspect of metabolism and digestion. Of course, most people who work the night shift experience disrupted sleep patterns. Sleeping during the day isn’t easy. Weight gain, then, makes sense.

This is certainly a topic that needs some more research. Until then, keep going to work and try to get as much sleep as possible. Oh, and a little extra exercise when you can squeeze it in wouldn’t hurt, either.