Written by Kathryn Stock
Nurse & Nurses.co.uk Specialist Writer
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.It's demoralising. 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. Any ideas?