Shift Work and Earth’s Rotation


Eight Days from Earth, the Galileo Spacecraft turned its camera toward home.

We evolved on Earth. Simple enough, yet we usually don’t consider how attuned we are to its rhythms, especially its rotation with its night and day cycles. When we are out of rhythm with natural cycles, we are “misaligned.” The metabolic effects of misalignment with the Earths rotation, our circadian rhythms, have been studied in shift workers. However, some of health detriments were attributed to loss of sleep, a frequent accompaniment to of an irregular work schedule.

Researchers from Chicago, IL, Brussels, Belgium and Uppsala, Sweden designed a study to determine if circadian misalignment without sleep loss increases inflammation and the risk of diabetes. Their goal and study population:

To determine whether the misalignment of circadian rhythms that typically occurs in shift work involves intrinsic adverse metabolic effects independently of sleep loss, twenty-six healthy adults were studied using a parallel group design.”

Published in Diabetes on January 23, the study revealed:

Circadian misalignment as occurs in shift work may increase diabetes risk and inflammation, independently of sleep loss.”

Take home point: Being out of rhythm with the Earths rotation may be an independent risk factor for the development of inflammation and diabetes.

Source:  Circadian misalignment augments markers of insulin resistance and inflammation, independently of sleep loss

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