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Your Night Job Could Increase Your Risk of Diabetes and Your Weight

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your weight and your diabetes risk may increase with night jobs iStockphoto/Thinkstock

If you are holding a middle management, marketing, or sales job and you are travelling late evenings frequently to your client destinations, you could be putting yourself at risk of developing diabetes and obesity.

A study conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital corroborates the earlier findings that both disrupting your sleep pattern as well as getting fewer hours of sleep than optimal puts you at a risk for diabetes and obesity.

So if you are flying the nights after finishing with the day’s work at office, finding yourself at sleep habitats which are not your usual, disrupting your quality of sleep, you should be careful about what you eat or how much you work out.

A similar danger is faced by shift workers where the person’s sleep patterns become inconsistent with their internal biological clock.

The study was conducted in lab settings where 21 healthy participants were observed for a period of six weeks. The researchers controlled the following variables in the experiment: (1)

• Hours of sleep a participant got
• When the participants slept
• Diet of the participant
• Activities of the participant

The participants started out being allowed an optimal 10-hour sleep at night, which was then varied to 5-6 hours of sleep per day. This sleep could occur any point of time in the 24-hour cycle -- day or night.

This was done to mimic the effect of working a rotating shift in the participants with the object of achieving a disrupted internal circadian rhythm.

The study closed with the participants having nine nights of recovery sleep at the usual time.

Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in a plant or animal’s environment. (2)

Among other things, the internal circadian rhythm regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle, as well as appetite, etc.

The following observations were made during the study:

1. Disrupting the circadian rhythm simultaneously with prolonged sleep deprivation reduced a person’s resting metabolic rate.

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