Social Jet Lag

How many hours of sleep do you clock on a regular weekday? And how many hours on weekends? It is widespread to accumulate sleep debt during work nights and then compensate by sleeping more during weekends. There are two main reasons why accumulating sleep debt is problematic. For once, sleep deprivation is harmful and can be even dangerous, and second, your body has difficulties overcoming changes and irregularities in your weekly rhythms.

A change in rhythms between work nights and weekends is called social jet lag. Social jet lag is very similar to having jet lag through travels, but the nominator, in this case, is mainly your social life. In jet lag, traveling to a different time zone makes your body and brain confused, as they are in the city of departure and not in the rhythm of the country you have traveled. For many of us, it is common to have a similar conflict in rhythms on Monday mornings. If you have stayed up late during because one reason or another during weekend, the time difference on Monday can be several hours. For example, if you usually wake up at seven and on weekends stay asleep until noon, the accent is similar to having flown from London to New York and back on the weekend.

The immediate effects of social jet lag are familiar to everyone who has suffered through Monday's workday after a particularly busy weekend. However, many of the social jet lag's effects are individual, partially indirect, and can last many days. Short term effects include tiredness, insomnia, headaches, stomach ache, memory lapses, and decreased physical and cognitive performance. The connection between the impact and the weekend's irregular rhythm is not always evident. Social jet lag also has many harmful long term effects. Long continued social jet lag has been found to have a connection to increased diabetes risk as well as heart and vascular diseases.

Example Habits to try:

Additional Reading

Lunsford-Avery, J. R., Engelhard, M. M., Navar, A. M., & Kollins, S. H. (2018). Validation of the Sleep Regularity Index in Older Adults and Associations with Cardiometabolic Risk. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 1–11.

Partinen, M. (2012). Aikaerorasitus (jet lag). Terveyskirjasto. Duodecim.

Roenneberg, T., & Merrow, M. (2016). The circadian clock and human health. Current Biology, 26(10), R432–R443.

Roenneberg, T., Allebrandt, K. V., Merrow, M., & Vetter, C. (2012). Social jetlag and obesity. Current Biology, 22(10), 939–943.

Wittmann, M., Dinich, J., Merrow, M., & Roenneberg, T. (2006). Social jetlag: Misalignment of biological and social time. Chronobiology International, 23(1–2), 497–509.

Wong, P. M., Hasler, B. P., Kamarck, T. W., Muldoon, M. F., & Manuck, S. B. (2015). Social Jetlag, chronotype, and cardiometabolic risk. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 100(12), 4612–4620.