Social Jet Lag Is A Real Thing & You Probably Have It

Photo: Sanna Lindberg/Getty Images
For many working adults, salivating at the thought of sleeping in on our days off is par for the course. While sure some people awaken seven days a week with the same cheery, early-bird resolve routinely seen during working hours, many of us are excited to gift ourselves a few extra hours on the weekends. No big deal, right? Well according to a recent study noted in Yahoo News, this little habit is a big deal. In fact, it’s the sign of something greater: Social Jet Lag.
As reported by Yahoo News, 85 percent of people sleep and wake up later on weekends/days off. This routine is actually causing chronic fatigue and often triggers a terrible mood. Even worse, a new study reveals that this form of “jet lag” can increase your risk of heart disease by 11 percent.
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“These results indicate that sleep regularity, beyond sleep duration alone, plays a significant role in our health,” said the study’s lead author Sierra B. Forbush to EurekAlert. Forbush is an undergraduate research assistant in the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “This suggests that a regular sleep schedule may be an effective, relatively simple, and inexpensive preventative treatment for heart disease as well as many other health problems.”
This isn’t the first time “social jet lag” has made the news. The term first popped up in 2012 and was linked to obesity. Researchers also found that those suffering from SJL were also likely to consume more caffeine, smoke, and drink more alcohol than the average adult. They were also reportedly more depressed.
As for the name, jet lag, it’s been dubbed that for a very specific reason.
“The behavior looks like if most people on a Friday evening fly from Paris to New York or Los Angeles to Tokyo and on Monday they fly back,” said researcher Till Roenneberg PhD, to WebMD. Roenneberg is a professor at the Institute of Medical Psychology at the University of Munich who coined the term. “Since this looks like almost a travel jet lag situation, we called it social jet lag. They have to live a life almost in a different time zone in comparison to their biological clock.”
The solution was simple: Give yourself seven hours each night for rest and avoid the desire to sleep that extra two hours or more on your day off.