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Is night shift affecting your weight?

Pizza, chocolates, chips. Sound familiar? Having worked lots of night shifts ourselves, we understand the peril of trying to stay awake when our bodies are telling us that we’re meant to be asleep. Snacking to stay alert and awake is quite common amongst night shift workers, however, what and when we eat can prove to be detrimental┬áto our health.

A study led by Dr Kenneth Wright from the University of Colorado showed that those who are awake at night may have decreased insulin sensitivity, resulting in a lot more insulin being released to keep their blood sugar levels normal. This was because the body, naturally determining it is meant to be asleep, is not prepared for food intake during the night. Additionally,
sleeping during the day burns fewer calories than at night, increasing the risk of developing health issues such as obesity and diabetes.

The findings of the study also suggest that “increased food intake during periods of insufficient sleep is a physiological adaptation to provide the energy needed to sustain additional wakefulness; yet when food is easily accessible, intake surpasses that need”.

Give junk food a miss on night shift and instead opt for a balance of healthy protein and complex carbs. Light meals that are low Glycaemic Index (GI) GI and low in sugar are best. For example, natural yoghurt and fresh berries, hummus and veggie sticks, boiled eggs and salad, or minestrone soup. Also, ensure you keep your hydration levels up by drinking water.

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