Women who worked rotating night shifts for three to nine years faced a 20 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Women who worked nights for 10 to 19 years had a 40 percent rise in risk. And women who worked night shifts for over 20 years were 58 percent more at risk. Women who worked rotating night shifts also gained more weight and were more likely to become obese during the follow-up.
Rotating night shift work was defined as three or more night shifts plus day and evening hours each month. The Harvard School of Public Health tracked more than 175,000 U.S. nurses for this study. Findings were published Dec. 6 in the journal PLoS Medicine.
Researchers said the findings need to be confirmed in men and ethnic groups (96 percent of the nurses were white Caucasians). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 15 million Americans work full time on evening shifts, night shifts, rotating shifts or other irregular schedules.
Read more about shift work sleep disorder and women’s sleep needs. More stories about sleep and type 2 diabetes are available on the Sleep Education Blog.
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