According to a new study published in the journal Sleep Health, researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison have found that employees who work shifts outside of a 9-to-5 schedule are at an increased risk for being overweight, experiencing sleep problems, and possibly developing metabolic disorders, compared with people who work conventional schedules.
Specifically, results showed that shiftworkers were about 13% more likely to be overweight, approximately 7% more likely to experience insomnia, about 10% more likely to get insufficient sleep, and over 7% more likely to experience excessive wake-time sleepiness than traditional schedule workers.
Researchers also found that experiencing sleep problems was associated with metabolic disorders, such as being overweight/obese or diabetic.
"Shiftwork employees are particularly vulnerable to experiencing sleep problems as their jobs require them to work night, flex, extended, or rotating shifts," said Marjory Givens, PhD, Associate Scientist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
"This study adds to a growing body of literature calling attention to the metabolic health burden commonly experienced by shiftworkers and suggests that obtaining sufficient sleep could lessen this burden.
Shiftwork is an occupational health risk of growing significance because it is becoming more common and because of its potential influence on health outcomes, possibly increasing health differences between workers of higher vs lower socioeconomic status.