Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/121711
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Type: Journal article
Title: Altering meal timing to improve cognitive performance during simulated nightshifts.
Author: Gupta, C.C.
Centofanti, S.
Dorrian, J.
Coates, A.
Stepien, J.M.
Kennaway, D.
Wittert, G.
Heilbronn, L.
Catcheside, P.
Noakes, M.
Coro, D.
Chandrakumar, D.
Banks, S.
Citation: Chronobiology International, 2019; 36(12):1-23
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 0742-0528
1525-6073
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Charlotte C Gupta, Stephanie Centofanti, Jillian Dorrian, Alison Coates, Jacqueline M Stepien, David Kennawayd, Gary Wittert, Leonie Heilbronn, Peter Catcheside, Manny Noakes, Daniel Coro, Dilushi Chandrakumar and Siobhan Banks
Abstract: Altering meal timing could improve cognition, alertness, and thus safety during the nightshift. This study investigated the differential impact of consuming a meal, snack, or not eating during the nightshift on cognitive performance (ANZCTR12615001107516). 39 healthy participants (59% male, age mean±SD: 24.5 ± 5.0y) completed a 7-day laboratory study and underwent four simulated nightshifts. Participants were randomly allocated to: Meal at Night (MN; n= 12), Snack at Night (SN; n = 13) or No Eating at Night (NE; n = 14). At 00:30 h, MN consumed a meal and SN consumed a snack (30% and 10% of 24 h energy intake respectively). NE did not eat during the nightshift. Macronutrient intake was constant across conditions. At 20:00 h, 22:30 h, 01:30 h, and 04:00 h, participants completed the 3-min Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT-B), 40-min driving simulator, post-drive PVT-B, subjective sleepiness scale, 2-choice Reaction Time task, and Running Memory task. Objective sleep was recorded for each of the day sleeps using Actigraphy and for the third day sleep, Polysomnography was used. Performance was compared between conditions using mixed model analyses. Significant two-way interactions were found. At 04:00 h, SN displayed increased time spent in the safe zone (p < .001; percentage of time spent within 10 km/h of the speed limit and 0.8 m of lane center), and decreases in speed variability (p < .001), lane variability (p < .001), post-drive PVT-B lapses (defined as RT > 355 ms; p < .001), and reaction time on the 2-choice reaction time task (p < .001) and running memory task (p < .001) compared to MN and NE. MN reported greater subjective sleepiness at 04:00 h (p < .001) compared to SN and NE. There was no difference in objective sleep between eating conditions. Eating a large meal during the nightshift impairs cognitive performance and sleepiness above the effects of time of night alone. For improved performance, shiftworkers should opt for a snack at night.
Keywords: Shiftwork; chrono-nutrition; cognitive performance; driving; meal timing
Rights: © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
RMID: 1000001986
DOI: 10.1080/07420528.2019.1676256
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/1099077
Appears in Collections:Psychology publications

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