Scientists have warned that staff who regularly work shifts may be more susceptible to diabetes and obesity if they do not have enough sleep at the right time of the day.
Findings from a study involving 21 adults found that alterations made to normal sleep patterns led to the body having difficulty in processing sugar levels. Within a few weeks the report, which was circulated in the journal Science Translational Medicine, also discovered early signs of diabetes among some of those in the health trial.
Participants in the experiment started off by sleeping for 10 hours every night, and were then subject to a broken pattern of sleep for three weeks after sleeping well. Researchers made the day longer by extending it to 28 hours, simulating a similar environment to a person who often gets jet lag from flying regularly.
The people in the study could only sleep for 6.5 hours a night in the longer days, and because of this scientists found that blood sugar levels were “significantly increased” straight after the participants ate and also throughout the “fasting” times.
As a result of the findings experts have urged for action to lessen the effect working shifts have on employees.
- Buxton OM, et al. Adverse Metabolic Consequences in Humans of Prolonged Sleep Restriction Combined with Circadian Disruption. Circulation 2012; Advance online publication.