For the most nocturnal amongst us who work the night hours, a new study postulates that for obese individuals, this is not a good thing at all. According to the findings of this study, working the nightly hours means people are burning less energy than they do during the day. An interrupted cicadic rhythm ensures the human body does not take advantage of the metabolism rate it can during a normal schedule.
This study was carried out from researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder. It reinforces the long held view that when the body prepares to call it a night, it can do wonders for weight loss if we didn’t let our nocturnal ways get the better of us. Similarly, if people who tend to eat at night, are also prone to similar results. By not sleeping well and by eating at night, people are more at risk of getting obese and gaining weight faster than normal.
This study was also published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ after 14 adults were part of an experiment to determine whether sleep patterns had any effect on their metabolism and weight loss. For the first 2 days, the subjects in the study were made to sleep normally at night. They were then transitioned into a work shift schedule comprising of three days as the routines got reversed.
Once they got into the work shift schedule, it was noticed that their daily energy levels reduced, barring any changes in their food intake. Because of the reduced energy expenditure levels, this can inevitably lead to weight gain. At every interval, the meals of the participants were always monitored. In fact, they were given just the same amount of food they would have at their homes. So, when the schedules and work shift were reversed, their diets remained the same.
Next it was ensured the participants got 8 hours of sleep at both of the shifts. Whether they wanted to work at night or day, the 8-hour constant remained. It was, as evidenced before, observed that the total daily energy levels were minimal as they worked in shifts. It was hypothesized that a person’s activities and their circadian clocks both have an effect on the daily energy levels.
Chalk it up to evolution. Human beings sleep when it’s dark and wake up when there’s light. That’s how it is normally. But given enough time, an individual’s circadian clock can gradually shift over time if exposed to artificial light other than the sun. It is here that it becomes evident the biological clocks of the participants don’t adjust well to fit their night-time work schedules. It just goes against the fundamental human biology. The researchers found that during daytime, more fat was burnt by sleeping participants. And that level of fat burning was significant lower for night-time sleepers.
But even then, in light of these findings, there was no noticeable fat loss in subjects who worked night shifts. The answer to this issue laid in the fact that energy expenditure is higher during the day for human beings than at night time. This in turn neutralized all the positive gains made during the daytime fat burning process. There is also the risk of altering the normal composition of fat and muscles in the bodies if people had a haphazard schedule for sleeping at night and during the days.
At the end of this study, the basics were again reaffirmed. If overweight and obese individuals were to lose weight no matter what work shift they had, it was important to opt for a healthy diet and a healthy dose of physical activities, such as exercises, walking and jogging.