The Modern Sleepist

Are You Suffering From Social Jet Lag?

By DUX Design, AB  •  October 20, 2015

While the term jet lag is well known for frequent flyers, social jet lag is a newer term that measures the difference between our biological clocks and our socially constructed clocks. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of individuals today are suffering from social jet lag without even knowing it. Recent studies have discovered that individuals who have different sleep patterns on the weekends on work days may be suffering from social jet lag. Doctor, Till Roenneberg, a professor at the Institute of Medical Psychology at the University of Munich validates this statement by explaining that “…social jet lag is brought on by the shift in sleep schedule that many people experience on their days off, compared to work days.” and estimates that “it affects about two-thirds of the population.” For example, you do not have to set an alarm for the days you do not have to wake up for work. Therefore, you will get 1 - 2 more hours of sleep than you would get during the days you work, ultimately proving that you sleep on a slightly different schedule – a schedule that is more in tune with your body’s natural rhythm, or biological clock.

Switching your sleep schedule from the weekend to a work day can have the same effect on your biological clock as switcing time zones. One major difference between travel jet lag and social jet lag is light: When you arrive in a new place, the sun is rising and setting at a different time, yet your body can retune its own biological clock to match it. However, with social jet lag the schedule interruption is constant because a person remains in the same place. Doctor Roenneberg further claims that people “have to live a life almost in a different time zone in comparison to their biological clock.” Because we are technically living in a different time zone than that of our biological clock, our body is not getting a sufficient amount of sleep and this can cause our cognitive performance to become hindered, memory aptitude reduced, and social skills abridged. While mental health is at risk because of social jet lag, so is our metabolic health and immunity. With this lack of sleep we are more likely to become overweight, regardless if we consume the same quantity of food. This is because we are forcing our bodies to eat at socially constructed times than in time with our natural rhythm. We are also more susceptible to sickness, disease, and have a harder time fighting off infections. All this information is not being presented to instill fear in anyone, but rather to educate and inspire others to make lifestyle changes that will allow them to overcome social jet lag by changing simple daily routines.

If social jet lag is caused by a sleep disturbance while transitioning from our weekend schedule to our work schedule, it would be smart to try and alter your weekend and work days to be somewhat similar. Those 1 – 2 hours of sleep you lose on a work day can be reintroduced into your schedule by going to bed earlier. Or you can even set an alarm for yourself on the weekend to match your work week wake up time and get a productive start to the day; the key is to mimic the times you wake up and go to sleep every day of the week. To ensure you will have a wonderful night of sleep while you begin to break away from your social jet lag, you should consider a luxurious DUXIANA® mattress. Our beds are known to be a “vehicle for wellbeing” and provide you with a deep sleep, allowing you to fully rest while your body repairs itself each night. Whether you are experiencing social jet lag, or other issues such as back pain and restlessness, DUXIANA® provides you with an unprecedented experience of relaxation and relief night after night. Say goodbye to social jet lag and say hello to more sleep with the help of the DUX Bed®.

The Informed Sleeper endeavors to become your sole information resource for better health through deeper sleep.

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