Study: Daytime eating improves mental health of night shift workers

Study: Daytime eating improves mental health of night shift workers


Now, a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has looked at the impact of meal timing on the mood and well-being of night shift workers.

As tempting as a midnight snack may be, researchers found that solely eating meals during the daytime, instead of both daytime and nighttime, could significantly improve the mood of those who work nights. In fact, they found that while those who ate during the day experienced no change in their moods, late-night snackers reported more feelings of anxiety and depression.

Previous research has shown that shift workers have a much higher risk of depression and anxiety than those who don’t work irregular hours. Such disrupted schedules are also linked to a higher risk for health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes.

The researchers say a simple change, like noticing when you eat your meals and how you feel afterward, could be an accessible key to improving your mood during shift work.

Obviously, as any graveyard-shift worker knows, this may be a little easier said than done.

But the researchers suggest this knowledge may eventually lead to behavioral therapeutic intervention in the form of dietary recommendations.

More research is needed to better understand how meal timing can affect or prevent mood vulnerability in shift work schedules. For now, if you can’t control when you sleep, try being more mindful of when you eat.

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