“How Social Jetlag Can Affect Your Health”

We have bee told that sleep is important ever since we were children. There is a condition called social jetlag that effects the sleep cycle and it can cause numerous negative impacts on our health. Let’s look at what this condition is and what we can do about it.

What Is Social Jetlag?

Social jetlag is a condition caused by our modern schedules. Most people follow the same 5-day weekly schedule of work and school, then weekends off. During the weekends, or free days, people want to stay up late to be social and/or sleep in because they don’t have to wake early for work or school.

This later sleep and wake time for the weekends resets our internal body clock, or circadian rhythm. Then, during the week or workdays, we are continually resetting it back. Having an inconsistent sleep schedule can wreak havoc upon our bodies.

Health Impacts Of Social Jetlag

Social jetlag has been the subject of numerous studies since Till Roenneberg coined the term to describe this pattern of sleep cycle disruption that he saw in his research. They have been seemingly unanimous in their assertions that social jetlag is detrimental to health.
Some of the health conditions or issues social jetlag is associated with include:

  • Increased BMI/Obesity
  • Increased likelihood of heart attack/stroke
  • Fatigue throughout the day
  • Worse mood/emotional instability
  • Depression
  • Type 2 diabetes

The impact of sleep schedule disruption can be severe, especially when the sleep issues become chronic. To avoid these potential health consequences, we can work to get our sleep schedule back on track.

How To Sleep Better

It’s been said that social jetlag and sleep deprivation are indistinguishable. Therefore, it would be prudent to focus on how to sleep better on a more consistent basis.
Some ways to help include:

  • Sleep and wake at the same time daily
  • Minimize screen time and use dimmers/blue light filters
  • Get adequate natural light throughout the day
  • Begin exercising daily
  • Begin a bedtime routine that helps you wind down every night

WIth some planning and conscientiousness, it becomes easy to keep our sleep cycle balanced and regular. This bit of effort can help avoid numerous health issues in the future.

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