Dietary interventions for shift workers should consider the role of mood as well as shift type

In February 2019 researchers from Australia published the results of their study to assess the relationship between shift work, sleep, mood, and diet. 52 nurses who worked shifts (46 female, average age 40 years) were involved in the 14-day study. Information on diet was collected via food diaries. Mood (happiness, anxiety, depressive mood, stress, and tiredness) was assessed and sleep duration of the individuals estimated. Results showed that, compared to night and morning shifts, working an afternoon shift was associated with a lower energy intake and lower levels of stress. Higher levels of stress appeared to be associated with a higher energy intake, with a higher percentage of fat and saturated fat being consumed. When compared to other shifts, a morning shift was associated with lower carbohydrates and a night shift with lower protein intake. Reduced sleep was seen to be associated with both a higher carbohydrate intake and a lower protein intake. Stress, depression, and anxiety all appeared to have an impact on energy intake.

Heath G et al Associations between shift type, sleep, mood, and diet in a group of shift working nurses. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2019 Feb 26. [Epub ahead of print]

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