A new study has discovered that night work and shift patterns disrupt the employee’s metabolism, causing them to expel less energy than they normally would over the course of a day.
This effect was found to be particularly pronounced when employees tried to sleep during the day. Despite the fact that they typically had more disturbed sleep, employees who slept during the day burned between 12 and 16% fewer calories than those who slept at night.
These findings could help to explain previous links found between night shift workers and higher risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Director of the sleep and chronobiology laboratory at the University of Colorado, Dr Kenneth Wright, said that the lower energy could accentuate the poor diets and lack of physical activity often seen in night workers. He reasoned that this may be down to a mishmash between the internal body clock and sleep patterns that is disturbing the metabolism.