You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Top Stories

Snack during night shift 'better than big meal' for workers

Cover Media logo Cover Media 6 days ago
a hand using a computer © Provided by Cover Media Ltd

A snack is better than a big meal for those who work night shifts, researchers report.

Academics from the University of South Australia have investigated whether altering food intake during the night shift could optimise how shift workers feel during the night and reduce their sleepiness. 

They tested whether it was best to either have a snack, a meal, or no food at all, and accordingly, reported that a simple snack was the "best choice" for maximising alertness and productivity. 

"Now that we know that consuming a snack on nightshift will optimise your alertness and performance without any adverse effects, we're keen to delve more into the types of snacks shift workers are eating," said lead researcher Charlotte Gupta. "Lots of shift workers snack multiple times over a nightshift, and understanding the different macronutrient balances is important, especially as many report consuming foods high in fat, such as chips, chocolate, and fast foods." 

For the study, the researchers assessed the impact of three different meals on participants; a meal comprising 30 per cent of energy intake over a 24-hour period such as a sandwich, muesli bar, and apple; a snack comprising 10 per cent of energy intake (for example, just the muesli bar and apple); and no food intake at all.

The food was consumed at 12:30 am, with the results showing that while all participants reported increased sleepiness and fatigue, and decreased vigour across the night shift, consuming a snack reduced the impact of these feelings more so than a meal or no food at all. The snack group also reported having no uncomfortable feelings of fullness as noted by the meal group. 

In light of the findings, Gupta wants to look into the different types of snacks and how they affect shift workers differently. 

"We're keen to assess how people feel and perform after a healthy snack versus a less-healthy, but potentially more satisfying snack like chocolate or lollies," she added.  

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon