Subjective hunger, gastric upset, and sleepiness in response to altered meal timing during simulated shiftwork

Charlotte C. Gupta, Stephanie Centofanti, Jillian Dorrian, Alison M. Coates, Jacqueline M. Stepien, David Kennaway, Gary Wittert, Leonie Heilbronn, Peter Catcheside, Manny Noakes, Daniel Coro, Dilushi Chandrakumar, Siobhan Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Shift workers report eating during the night when the body is primed to sleep. This study investigated the impact of altering food timing on subjective responses. Healthy participants (n = 44, 26 male, age Mean ± SD = 25.0 ± 2.9 years, BMI = 23.82 ± 2.59kg/m2) participated in a 7-day simulated shiftwork protocol. Participants were randomly allocated to one of three eating conditions. At 00:30, participants consumed a meal comprising 30% of 24 h energy intake (Meal condition; n = 14, 8 males), a snack comprising 10% of 24 h energy intake (Snack condition; n = 14; 8 males) or did not eat during the night (No Eating condition; n = 16, 10 males). Total 24 h individual energy intake and macronutrient content was constant across conditions. During the night, participants reported hunger, gut reaction, and sleepiness levels at 21:00, 23:30, 2:30, and 5:00. Mixed model analyses revealed that the snack condition reported significantly more hunger than the meal group (ρ < 0.001) with the no eating at night group reporting the greatest hunger (ρ < 0.001). There was no difference in desire to eat between meal and snack groups. Participants reported less sleepiness after the snack compared to after the meal (ρ < 0.001) or when not eating during the night (ρ < 0.001). Gastric upset did not differ between conditions. A snack during the nightshift could alleviate hunger during the nightshift without causing fullness or increased sleepiness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1352
Number of pages24
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Gastric upset
  • Meal timing
  • Nightshift
  • Shiftwork
  • Snack


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