Night Shift Work, Sleep Quality, and Obesity

J Lifestyle Med. 2013 Sep;3(2):110-6. Epub 2013 Sep 30.


Background: The aims of this study were to examine the relationship between night shift work and sleep, to investigate the correlations with various biomarkers that show the influence of sleep on obesity, and ultimately, to analyze factors that have an impact on obesity.

Methods: This study used data from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States II (MIDUS II study) and the MIDUS II Biomarker Project. After connecting the MIDUS II study data with the MIDUS II Biomarker Project data, we analyzed data from 883 subjects to investigate the relationship between night shift work and sleep quality. We also examined the correlations with biomarkers and sleep quality. Lastly, we performed logistic regression analyses to investigate factors that had an impact on obesity.

Results: Sleep quality was found to be low among night shift workers. Sleep quality was positively correlated with HbA1c, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, and inversely correlated with DHEA levels. Sleep quality was highly correlated with inflammatory markers and inversely correlated with antioxidant markers. Sleep quality was significantly associated with obesity (OR: 1.10, 95% CI: 1.03-1.18). Biomarkers that had an influence on obesity included diastolic blood pressure, HbA1c and triglyceride levels, inflammatory markers, and antioxidant values.

Conclusion: Poor sleep quality due to night shift work disturbs the circadian rhythm, causing negative changes in metabolic, inflammatory, neuroendocrine, and antioxidant biomarkers. These changes may eventually play a role in increasing the incidence of obesity.

Keywords: Biomarker; Obesity; Shift work; Sleep.