After a busy Friday night with friends, you hit the snooze button Saturday morning. You do the same on Sunday morning. Then, you’re exhausted during the work week.
Does that sound like your normal weekend to week routine? Staying up a few hours later every weekend isn’t just a habit. It’s a condition called social jet lag.
Till Roenneberg, Ph.D., a professor at the Institute of Medical Psychology at the University of Munich, studies chronobiology, or biological rhythms, within sleep science. He coined the term social jet lag, a shift in sleep schedule on days off compared to work days. According to Roenneberg, social jetlag affects about two-thirds of the population.
Sleeping in on Saturdays and Sundays shifts the entire biological clock, making it hard for you to fall asleep on Sunday night. If you experience this, you’re not alone. According to a survey from Toluna Omnibus, 39 percent of more than 3,000 respondents said they have the most trouble sleeping on Sunday night.
The difference between jet lag from traveling and social jet lag is light. When you are traveling and change time zones, the sun still is rising and setting. Your body’s internal clock is able to reset. But with social jet lag, you aren’t changing locations, and the disruption becomes chronic.
Roenneberg’s research on social jet lag shows that it can take a toll on your health since you’re depriving your body of sleep. Social jet lag has been linked to weight gain, depression, and reduced cognitive performance.
Social jet lag can be avoided, but no one wants to give up their social life. However, even small changes can make a big difference. Consider staying out late one night, instead of both Friday and Saturday, or taking naps to help your body recover. Roenneberg suggests exposing yourself to light every morning, between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and turning off the blue light from electronics.
Track your sleep with Somnology, to make sure you’re getting a good sleep every night – even on the weekends.