People who work at night shift and, therefore, sleep during the day, may be more likely to develop type II diabetes, as well as suffer other health disorders, as explained by neurologist Isabel Villalibre, specialist of the Unit of the Dream of the La Luz Clinic.

In the opinion of this expert this alteration of the circadian rhythms -which regulate the sleep and wake cycles- to which the shift workers at night, can cause these people to have a worse control of sugar metabolism, which would favor the development of diabetes, and increase their tendency to overweight.

Dr. Villalibre affirms that these workers may suffer other consequences arising from their working hours, such as daytime drowsiness, decreased concentration, irritability, fatigue, or gastrointestinal discomfort, among others, which are mainly due to the fact that to sleep less than necessary hours or suffer frequent awakenings, which entails, in the long run, a 'chronic sleep deprivation'.

The alteration of sleep and wakefulness cycles may cause people working in the night shift to have a worse control of sugar metabolism, which would favor the development of diabetes

These problems are also accentuated if the worker is over 50 years old, the specialist points out, because, he adds, young people are more easily adaptable. And it offers some tips to mitigate discomfort and promote sleep during the day. Explain, for example, that it is important to maintain a bright environment in the workplace to inhibit melatonin, the main hormone that induces sleep, and, on the contrary, to wear dark sunglasses to promote the rise of the melatonin

Another tip of the expert is to keep meal times, adjusting them to sleep, so the worker should have breakfast before leaving work -although without committing excesses to give him time to do the digestion before going to bed-, and eat when getting up, lunch being the most important meal of the day.

Working Night Shift May Affect Diabetes (November 2019).