Shift workers getting too little sleep at the wrong time of day may be increasing their risk of diabetes and obesity, according to researchers.The team is calling for more measures to reduce the impact of shift working following the results of its study.
Researchers controlled the lives of 21 people, including meal and bedtimes.
The results, published in Science Translational Medicine, showed changes to normal sleep meant the body struggled to control sugar levels.Some participants even developed early symptoms of diabetes within weeks.
Lead researcher Dr Orfeu Buxton said: "We think these results support the findings from studies showing that, in people with a pre-diabetic condition, shift workers who stay awake at night are much more likely to progress to full-on diabetes than day workers. "Since night workers often have a hard time sleeping during the day, they can face both circadian [body clock] disruption working at night and insufficient sleep during the day. "The evidence is clear that getting enough sleep is important for health, and that sleep should be at night for best effect."