Night Shift Work Associated With Risk of Cancer, Metabolic Disorders

A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that working the night shift increases the risk of metabolic disorders, as well as cancer, obesity, stroke, and heart disease. 

Researchers evaluated the impact of misaligned sleep/wake and feeding/fasting cycles on circulating metabolites in 14 patients. They obtained sequential plasma samples of 132 circulating metabolites during a 24-hour constant routine that followed a 3-day simulated night-shift schedule (n=7) compared with a simulated day-shift schedule (n=7). 

The researchers found that in those who worked the night shift, the 24-hour rhythms of metabolites in the digestive system shifted by 12 hours, but the master clock in the brains of the night shift workers only shifted by approximately 2 hours. 

“Even just 3 days of night shift [work] has the ability to shift peripheral clocks and give you the disruption, with some biological signs saying it’s day and others saying it’s night,” said lead author Debra Skene, PhD, of the University of Surrey. 

Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America