It has not hitherto been clarified whether there is an association between dietary behavior and circadian variation in autonomic nervous system activity among shift workers. This study examines diurnal 24-h rhythm in heart rate variability (HRV) and dietary behavior among rotating shift workers, while taking into account the sleep-wake cycle and physical activity. The subjects were 11 female and 2 male nurses or caregivers working in a rotating 2-shift system at a health care facility. All the subjects were asked to undergo 24-h electrocardiograph and step count recordings, and to record the time of each meal and the amounts of each food and beverage consumed. Coarse graining spectral analysis was used for approximately 10-min segments of HRV to derive the total power (TOT: >0.04 Hz) of the periodic components and the integrated power of periodic components in the low-frequency (LF: 0.04-0.15 Hz) and high-frequency (HF: >0.15 Hz) ranges. Then the ratio of HF power to TOT (HF nu) and the ratio of LF power to HF power (LF/HF) were calculated to assess cardiac vagal tone and cardiac sympathovagal balance, respectively. Single cosinor analysis was used to obtain 24-h period variations in both variables of HRV. Acrophases of HF nu and LF/HF expressed in time since awakening were significantly (p<0.05) delayed for subjects having breakfast at a later time after awakening. Multivariable regression analysis indicated that the timing of breakfast, the ratio of energy intake at dinner to total energy intake, and total energy intake were correlated to the acrophases of HF nu and/or LF/HF. These results suggest that the phase angle between circadian variation in cardiac autonomic nervous system activity and the sleep-wake cycle may be associated with dietary behavior in shift workers.
Yoshizaki, T., Midorikawa, T., Hasegawa, K., Mitani, T., Komatsu, T., & Togo, F. (2014). Associations between diurnal 24-hour rhythm in ambulatory heart rate variability and the timing and amount of meals during the day shift in rotating shift workers. PLoS ONE, 9(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0106643