People who work night shifts or put in extra hours overtime which causes them to sleep less or have disturbed sleep face an increased risk of stroke and heart disease.
Lead author John M. Violanti, PhD, research associate professor in UB's Department of Social and Preventive Medicine in the School of Public Health and Health Professions found that the permutation can contribute to the development of the metabolic syndrome, a combination of unhealthful factors among police officers.
Violanti, who and received significant contributions from biostatisticians in the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), said: "These findings reinforce the scientific value of studying the effects of occupation on cardiovascular risk factors.
"This is especially important in first responders, who are selected on initial good overall physical and mental health. Exploring specific job-related associations, such as shift work, add to the benefit of such investigations."
The study showed that overall, 30 percent of officers working the night shift had metabolic syndrome, compared to 21 percent in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES III).
Violanti also said: "One potential explanation for this unusual finding is that midnight-shift officers were most likely to be sleep deprived because of difficulties associated with day sleeping. Sleep debt has been shown to have a harmful impact on carbohydrate metabolism and endocrine function, which could contribute to metabolic disorders."
In addition, officers who worked midnight shifts and had less than six hours sleep had a significantly higher average of metabolic-syndrome components than those who worked day shifts.
The research, based on data from the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress (BCOPS) study, was supported by a grant from NIOSH.
The study was published in the Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health.