Health Behaviors

Shift Work and Long Work Hours Influence Health Behaviors

Recent studies indicate sleep deprivation, long work hours, and shift work are associated with obesity.51-53 Sleep deprivation is associated with changes in "hunger hormones," which increase appetite and risk for obesity.54 Poor food choices available in the workplace at night may also play a role.

Shift work and long work hours may make it difficult for you to find the time and energy to exercise regularly. Some studies reported decreases in physical activity of workers on these types of schedules.55

Frost et al.56 concluded that smoking was generally more frequent among shift workers. You may be drawn to smoking to relieve the fatigue, sleepiness, and stress linked to demanding work schedules.

These negative health behaviors could contribute to the development of chronic illnesses.