(1) Background: About one in four workers undertake shift rosters that fall outside the traditional 7 a.m.–6 p.m. scheduling. Shiftwork alters workers’ exposure to natural and artificial light, sleep patterns, and feeding patterns. When compared to the rest of the working population, shiftworkers are at a greater risk of developing metabolic impairments over time. One fundamental component of metabolic health is skeletal muscle, the largest organ in the body. However, cause-and-effect relationships between shiftwork and skeletal muscle health have not been established; (2) Methods: A critical review of the literature was completed using online databases and reference lists; (3) Results: We propose a conceptual model drawing relationships between typical shiftwork consequences; altered light exposure, sleep patterns, and food and beverage consumption, and drivers of skeletal muscle health—protein intake, resistance training, and hormone release. At present, there is no study investigating the direct effect of shiftwork on skeletal muscle health. Instead, research findings showing that acute consequences of shiftwork negatively influence skeletal muscle homeostasis support the validity of our model; (4) Conclusion: Further research is required to test the potential relationships identified in our review, particularly in shiftwork populations. Part of this testing could include skeletal muscle specific interventions such as targeted protein intake and/or resistance-training.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited