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Friday, January 11, 2013

Link Between Illness And Timing For Meals, Sleep

Researchers have found evidence that the disruption of circadian rhythms may be connected to weight gain, diabetes and even some types of cancer. (Chrissy Wainwright/Flickr)

Researchers have found evidence that the disruption of circadian rhythms may be connected to weight gain, diabetes and even some types of cancer. (Chrissy Wainwright/Flickr)

Is there a best time to eat? A recent study fed two groups of mice the same high-calorie food. The mice who ate only when they were active stayed much leaner and had lower cholesterol than the mice who ate around the clock.

What about exercise? Our lungs are nearly 18 percent more efficient at 5 p.m. than they are at noon. Joints are 20 percent more flexible in the evening, and muscle strength peaks in the late afternoon.

Must of us know that our bodies have daily rhythms. Now researchers in the fast-growing field of chronobiology are studying how those circadian rhythms work at the cellular and molecular levels, and finding evidence that the disruption of those rhythms may be connected to weight gain, diabetes and even some types of cancer.


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  • Kim Allen

    I am an ER nurse with a history of breast cancer.  I have never liked working night shifts and with the research showing night-shift workers have a 60% increase in breast cancer, (Davis S, Mirick DK, Stevens RG. Night-Shift work, light at night, and risk of Breast Cancer, J Natl Cancer Inst 2001; 93:1557-62), I will no longer work past 11pm.

  • Seakarafly

    I am a flight attendant and breast cancer survivor.  My cancer is not estrogen sensitive and it does not run in my family.  I spent many years flying all night.  In addition to the interruption of natural sleep cycles, I have been exposed to radiation from flying over the magnetic North Pole on our shortcut to Asia.  In Dr Susan Love’s book on cancer Dr. Susan Love’s breast book. she cite’s the three most dangerous job’s for women and breast cancer are; Flight Attendant’s, Cosmetologist’s and Painter’s.  
    Robert Barish, physicist and author of “The Invisible Passenger: Radiation Risks For People Who Fly,” says, “The sun is really a big thermo-nuclear device.” Barish believes airline crewmembers are exposing themselves to more radiation than almost any other occupation. He says, “People who work in the nuclear power industry on an average basis are getting 1.6. There are people who fly in airplanes who are getting 2 or 3 or 4 milliSieverts per year. So they are truly radiation workers.”Due to an agreement between the FAA and the Airlines  flight crew’s were not deemed “‘Radiation Workers” .  Federal Express is the first American Airline that has given their pilot’s Radiation Counter’s to wear at work.

  • Jay

    I’m currently between my undergraduate and graduate studies and I’m working at a big box store to make ends meet until I return to school.  The daily variability in my schedule has absolutely destroyed my circadian rhythm.  One day I may open the store at 6:00 am and the next day I may be rushing to close the store at 1:00am or later.  I have found that in the short time I’ve worked there I have trouble going to sleep at an appropriate time in the evening and then I’m nodding off while driving a forklift or talking to a customer mid-day.

    • Jay

      During this period I have gotten sick more often than anytime in the past where I might have gotten a cold once a year and it does have me rather worried about my health.

  • Seakarafly

    My sleep schedule was all out of whack.  Sometimes flying all night internationally and then flying domestically with the different time zones.  Being West Coast based is hard when you have to get up at 0400 East Coast time and that’s 1am your body’s time.  I found it led to Insomnia and many other problems.

  • Rasjoy12

    My parent were of the “early to be, early to rise” generation.  I now know that I am the opposite.  As a child I was overweight and sick each winter.  My adult work world is afternoon into the evening or overnight.  On an unemployment streak I found that when I went to bed about 2 a.m. and got up at 10 a.m. I had the most energy and my brain was very sharp.  I wake before my alarm and don’t struggle to get out of bed.  I am also at a healthy weight and very seldom even catch a cold.

    Also I am from a family with 7 kids.  A sister died at the age of 42.  They said the cause was overweight, heart, asthma, or diabetes, (undiagnosed till then).  All the other siblings are healthy and still are early to bed.  I wonder if it would have helped if my sister had switched to nights like I did.  I would love to be part of a research program on this subject.

  • Danny Cook

    For the last 7 yrs I have been working as a commercial/residential painter.We paint the schools in our county as well as a branch of banks in my state plus certain hospitals & clinics. Of course it all for the most part has to be done at night, & depending where we’re working depends on what time we go in & how many hours we work. Sometimes the weekends are also involved which means working fri night then coming back in sat morn with very minimal sleep. For weeks at a time I may not average but 3 to 4 hrs of sleep per njght (or day). My body hardly knows when to eat, sleep, or when to even go to the bathroom. Putting myself through this has really changed me. I have become more irritable with little things that should be let go. I don’t eat near the amounts of food I used to (when I do eat) I don’t calculate & prosses as well and I feel wore out all the time even though I push through & don’t let it show. I have been worrying that one day all this is gonna do permanent damage to me but this is my career so its something that I have to do. I heard the interview about this on you’re show yesterday & now I am extremally concerned. Should I get checked out by the doctor now or wait until I can’t hide it anymore? By the way I really enjoy you’re show I listen every chance I get.

  • SEM

    I wish we could convince high schools to change their hours. Teenagers have shifted circadian rhythms so that they stay up late and want to sleep in. If school started an hour later, the kids would learn more, be healthier and maybe better tempered too. 

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