- 10 May 2018
- 2 min read
Is there a link between night shift nursing work and obesity?
Kathryn Stock evaluates whether working night shifts as a Nursing Home Nurse have contributed towards struggles with her weight.
I’ve been working four nights per week in nursing homes for the past 18 months, and I have never felt so fat! Much to my dismay, I’ve risen from a size 12 which I've been since my late teens, to a size 16/18.
I am now in my early 50's.
I am frustrated at my inability to shift the pounds, despite cutting out sugar and watching what I eat.
I don't want to be fat.
I’ve been blaming myself and of course, I should take responsibility.
After all, it is me who puts the food in my mouth.
Upset by my lack of progress despite huge efforts, and because many people I work with also have weight issues, I decided to consider whether there was a link between my increased night work, and my inability to lose weight.
To my surprise, I found, there is.
Studies have started to show not only a link between night work and obesity, but also to show why.
In a report published in October 2017, researchers from the Chinese University in Hong Kong studied shift patterns and how it impacted someone's health.
Their findings suggested:
● Those who work night shifts are at higher risk of developing obesity
● The melatonin levels in the brain are altered when sleep patterns are changed, impacting the metabolism
● People who work night shifts have a 35% higher risk of obesity as the nocturnal schedule derails their metabolism,
● Artificial light during night shifts disrupts the brain's melatonin levels and hinders the body's metabolism,
● Night shift workers gain weight quicker because the metabolism is working slower than normal,
● Despite suffering disturbed sleep, night shift workers burned up to 15% fewer calories.
Experts recommend altering the work schedule to avoid working night hours to reduce the global obesity epidemic.
So, there is reason why I am finding it so difficult to lose weight.
What I need now is an eating plan which takes into account night shifts and their effects so that not only can I lose weight but can keep it off in the future.