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Working The Night Shift Affects Your Weight And Health

Working The Night Shift Affects Your Weight And Health

Working the night shift can decrease your energy, affect your health, and increase your waist size. These individuals face major health challenges simply because of the hours they work. Working the night shift is an independent contributor to weight gain and abdominal obesity.

Why weight gain is more likely to happen when working nights?

1-YOU BURN FEWER CALORIES PER DAY:

One consequence of opposing the natural cycle of sleep-wake is burning on average 60 calories less per day compared to people who maintained their normal sleeping habits. This might not seem significant, but over the course of a week, it is about 420 fewer calories burned.

2-YOU WILL BURN LESS CALORIES/MEAL

– Digesting, absorbing, and distributing nutrients accounts for 10 % of the number of calories you burn every day. This process is called the thermic effect of food.

– People who ate their meals during the nighttime hours burnt less calories compared to people consuming the same meals during daytime hours.

3-THE BLOOD SUGAR SUFFERS

–  Your body’s ability to secrete the appropriate levels of insulin to keep glucose levels normal after a meal is best in the morning. It lessens and reaches its lowest point at night.

– If you’re working nights and eating most of your calories at night, glucose is more likely to be transferred into fat cells or left in your blood, which is not beneficial for your physique goals.

4-YOU BECOME HUNGRIER

Sleep deprivation causes an increase in hunger. Your brain and body are fatigued, so your brain sends signals to get you to eat; each one stronger than the last.

-The result is a decrease in the leptin which is the hormone that suppresses appetite and an increase in the ghrelin which is the hormone that promotes appetite. The fewer hours you sleep, the more pronounced these changes become.

5-YOU EXPERIENCE TROUBLE SLEEPING

Sleep deprivation is the major reason many negative consequences occur:

1. Sleep deprivation is the leader for the metabolic changes that take place as a result of working the night shift. Upsetting your body’s natural rhythm makes sleep difficulty on top of the daytime distractions.

2. People who sleep less than 7 hours per night tend to have a higher BMI versus those who sleep more than 7 hours.

3. Less sleep obviously can lead to short-term fatigue and irritability, but it’s the slow accumulation of silent adaptations that affects your health and fitness in the long term (will eat more, exercise less…)

What are the tips to follow to avoid weight gain caused by working night shifts?

– Protein has a higher TEF than fat or carbohydrate, so up your protein 10-15 percent.

– Slash your carbohydrate intake by 10-15 percent, and choose high-fiber options such as oats or brown rice. The high-fiber content will slow down glucose release and enhance glucose tolerance.

– To keep your appetite under control, eat every three hours. This may result in an extra meal or two, but it will help you fight hunger and decrease the chances that you overeat on a high-calorie sweet at some point.

– Reduce daily calories by 5% to counterbalance the decrease of your daily energy expenditure.

– Easy snacks such as a protein bar, canned tuna, and raw vegetables are excellent options to keep on hand! Don’t forget to drink water, sometimes you are only thirsty.

– Exercise because it enhances insulin sensitivity, which may help to mitigate some of the glucose intolerance discussed earlier.

– Wake up a few hours before your shift to get your workout completed rather than exercising after your shift or just before you sleep because it will leave you lying in bed wide-eyed and mind racing.

– To further enhance sleep quality, stop taking stimulants like caffeine and nicotine six hours prior to your bedtime. They will impair deep sleep and recovery.

Christelle Bedrossian
Dietitian-Nutritionist
Beirut, Lebanon

 

 

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Christelle Bedrossian