Shift Workers and Poor Sleepers at Higher Risk of Obesity and Diabetes Type 2

Can poor sleep or shift patterns cause weight gain or diabetes?

A small study of 21 people on the effects of sleep and metabolism was recently published in the Science Translation Medicine  and written up by the BBC News.

Observational studies have already linked sleep disruption with metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, researchers tested this hypothesis on 21 individuals by disrupting their sleep over a 5 week period to mimic shift patterns. Participants had prolonged periods awake, and shorter disrupted sleep cycles. The results showed higher than normal blood glucose after a meal due to inadequate insulin secretion. Researchers considered this “pre-diabetic”.

The conclusion – shift work or chronic sleep disruption can increase your chances of becoming obese & type 2 diabetic.

What can be done to help?

Although this study was too small to be conclusive, there are things that can be done to minimise some of the negative effects of night & shift work.

1. Consider a high dose Vitamin D3. Lack of sunshine can cause Vitamin D3 deficiencies which helps regulate weight and mood

2. Sleep in a pitch black room with no artificial or natural light

3. Eat a low carbohydrate, low GI/GL diet consisting mainly of real foods with no grains. This will help minimise blood sugar spikes

4. If possible while on shift, get up and move around every 20 – 30 minutes

5. Consider taking a good quality magnesium supplement to help sleep quality

7. Manage stress

8. Eat a Paleo based diet

9. Exercise regularly



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  1. Pingback: Paleo Success Story – 8 kg Lost in 7 Months | Primal Retreat

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