Working night shifts can put you at risk of diabetes, depression; know 6 adverse effects from expert | Health - Hindustan Times

Working night shifts can put you at risk of diabetes, depression; know 6 adverse effects from expert

By, New Delhi
May 16, 2024 05:46 PM IST

Working night shifts can impact your biological clock, increasing risk of chronic illnesses. Diabetes to depression, know ill effects of pulling an all-nighter.

Are you pulling an all-nighter at work? As per a new study, as few as three consecutive night shifts can significantly impact your health and put you at risk of chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity and other metabolic disorders. Published in the Journal of Proteome Research, the study delves into the functioning of the biological clock, which is located in the brain. Working consecutive night shifts can impact the body's rhythm and this can affect a range of body functions, especially those related to blood sugar regulation and energy metabolism. (Also read: Heatwave to Vitamin D deficiency; 10 unexpected causes of heart failure; tips to live longer)

 Just three-night shifts may be enough to raise your risk of several diseases like diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic disorders.(Unsplash)
Just three-night shifts may be enough to raise your risk of several diseases like diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic disorders.(Unsplash)

"Our body has a natural biological rhythm called circadian rhythm which is a 24-hour cycle that is part of the body’s internal clock, running in the background to carry out essential functions and processes. This circadian rhythm can especially become disrupted in individuals who do night shifts at work. Keeping a consistent routine and sleep schedule is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. Researchers from Washington State University, the US revealed that night shifts can cause the body's protein rhythms related to blood glucose regulation to go haywire. Just three-night shifts may be enough to raise your risk of several diseases like diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic disorders," says Dr Tushar Tayal, Consultant, Internal Medicine, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram.

Dr Ashish Mishra, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road shares adverse effects of working in night shifts.

Adverse effects of working in night shifts

1. Heart attacks: According to various studies, working night shift causes a likelihood of heart attack. Did you know? Changes in sleep habits tend to impact blood pressure and circulation increasing the likelihood of cardiovascular diseases.

2. Fatigue: Working night shift invites a variety of health problems including physical and mental. One pivotal issue is the disturbance of the circadian rhythm, which makes one prone to sleep disturbances and fatigue. Hence, one will be unable to do the daily chores with ease or find it difficult to concentrate on work.

3. Depression: Are you required to work night shifts? Beware, you might suffer from depression and other mood disorders. Yes, you heard it right! There are chances of mood disorders like depression, anxiety, stress, and adjustment disorder due to lack of sleep taking a toll on one’s social relationships. One can become cranky, frustrated, irritated, groggy, and feel lonely.

4. Insomnia: Working the night shift can have harmful effects on health as it impacts the body's natural circadian rhythm and leads to irregular sleep patterns and insomnia. One will struggle to get a peaceful sleep.

5. Weight gain and abnormal blood sugar levels: Night shift work will create havoc on the body’s circadian rhythm, leading to unhealthy eating and lack of physical activity. As per the evidence available, those working night shifts are likely to have high-calorie and unhealthy foods such as namkeen, samosa, Chinese food, vada, burger, chips, French fries, or colas and can experience weight gain and obesity. Additionally, the timing of meals during night shifts can affect insulin sensitivity, and one can have abnormal blood sugar levels that increases the chances of type 2 diabetes.

6. Gastrointestinal problems: People working in night shifts tend to eat unhealthy foods without adhering to meal timings. This can impact the gut and one will encounter problems such as acidity, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, and ulcers.

Impact of disturbed sleep

Dr Tayal explains some detrimental effects of disturbed sleep:

"During sleep, new connections are formed between nerve cells (neurons) in your brain. This helps us process and remember new information. Sleep deprivation leaves our brain exhausted and the brain cannot function optimally. This also leads to poor concentration and delay in the signals your body sends, decreasing your coordination and increasing your risk for accidents.

Lack of sleep also causes mood swings and may increase chances of depression and anxiety. During sleep, our body produces immunity boosting molecules such as cytokines and antibodies. Sleep deprivation hampers this process and makes your body prone to catching infections," says the expert.

"Sleep affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Leptin tells our brain that we have had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. This imbalance may increase hunger and lead to overeating and cause obesity. Disturbed sleep also causes insulin resistance and diabetes," adds the expert.

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