Publication Date



School of Nursing


Nursing (B.S.N.)


shift work, circadian rhythms, gut health, sleep patterns




The number of people engaged in shift work continues to rise, and with it the research linking shift work to various diseases and conditions. Shift work changes the body’s sleeping patterns and circadian rhythms which has an effect on all parts of the body including the heart, immunity, cancer development, and inflammatory processes. Altered sleeping patterns and circadian rhythms change the composition and anatomy of the gut and microbiome, which in turn affects the development of metabolic diseases. Shift work also changes one’s eating patterns and habits. Altered eating habits similarly changes the composition and anatomy of the gut and microbiome. With the combined effects of sleep patterns and eating habits on the gut, it can be said shift work itself produces lasting and harmful effects in the gut and microbiome. These changes in the gut underlie many of the disease processes plaguing shift workers. With the gut having such widespread effects on the body, it should be the focus of research and treatment related to shift work associated disease processes.

Included in

Nursing Commons