✈️ Social jet lag is a term used to describe a pattern of sleep-wake characterized by a delayed schedule on weekends, usually by several hours. In other words, staying up later and sleeping in later on the weekends when compared to the weekdays. Social jet lag simulates westward travel and results in circadian misalignment. That means the body’s circadian rhythm (internal clock) is not aligned with the behavior of the individual. Circadian misalignment manifests as difficulty falling asleep (especially on Sunday nights), decreased total sleep time due to insomnia, and then daytime sleepiness. An otherwise healthy person will most likely adjust to +/- one hour of shift in sleep wake without significant clinical changes, but more dramatic shifts can reduce the quality and quantity of sleep hours in a susceptible person. A more dramatic form of circadian misalignment occurs in night shift workers. Correcting circadian misalignment can dramatically improve quality, quantity of sleep, and overall health.
✅ For the most optimal sleep-wake, maintain a wake time with less than one hour of deviation day to day.
✅ Variations in bedtime are not as detrimental for shifting the circadian rhythm as wake times.
✅ An afternoon nap is sometimes a better for recovery compared to sleeping in because it has less impact on shifting the circadian rhythm.
✅ An afternoon power nap is also preferable to an extra cup of coffee which may then perpetuate the cycle by contributing to another night of insomnia/poor quality of sleep creating a vicious cycle.
✅ Lastly, we don’t live to sleep. Some things are worth staying up late for and we should not sacrifice those parts of our lives. However, we should choose carefully knowing how it might affect us.