Short and/or poor sleep are established behavioral factors which can contribute to excess food intake, and emerging evidence suggests that disturbed circadian rhythms may also impact food intake regulation. Together, disturbed sleep and circadian rhythms may help explain the excess risk for obesity seen in shift workers. To date, however, the details of how shift work may impact food intake regulation are still not fully defined. Here we examined the relationship between sleep characteristics and hedonic control of appetite in shift workers. A total of 63 shift workers (mean (M) age: 36.7 years, standard deviation (SD): 12.0; 59% women) completed an online survey comprising self-reported measures of body weight regulation, sleep (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Sleep Hygiene Index), and hedonic control of appetite (Food Craving Inventory, Power of Food Scale). Seventy-one percent reported some weight change since starting shift work, and 84% of those reported weight gain (M = +11.3 kg, SD = 9.1). Worse sleep quality and shorter sleep duration were associated with more food cravings, and worse sleep quality and hygiene were associated with higher appetitive drive to consume palatable food (greater hedonic drive). This preliminary study suggests hedonic pathways are potentially contributing to weight gain in shift workers with disturbed sleep.
- Food intake
- Shift work