Health Impact Of Social Jet Lag And Ways To Prevent It

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Health Impact Of Social Jet Lag And Ways To Prevent It

social jet lag

Are you one of them who loves to stay up late at night on the weekends and then sleep on the entire consecutive day? Then there is a good chance that you may experience "social jetlag (SJL)”.

A study shows that people who have different sleep patterns on the weekends than what they usually follow during the week are more prone towards catching health issues. The reason is that the shift in sleep schedule is associated with weight gain, mental performance, and chronic illness.

What is Social Jegtlag?

Social Jetlag is a condition that leads to weight gain, increases metabolic risk, stomach problems, and reduces mental performance.

Till Roennenberg, who is the German researcher at the Institute of Medical Psychology at the University of Munich coined the term social jetlag in 2006.

According to the scientist, the difference in sleep timings of the person between the weekdays and the weekends is called social jet lag. A Person feels tired, fatigued, or jet-lagged because of the change in their sleep schedule. Such type of sleep pattern increases the health risks.

Apart from that, Professor Till Roenneberg also researched that the risk of getting overweight increases about 33% for every hour of social jet lag.

There is also a study done by Roenneberg which suggests that two-thirds of the population is affected by social jet lag due to having the difference in their sleep schedule on their days off as compared to the working days.

Social jet lag is a very common problem amongst teenagers as they love to sleep late night and get up late when their schedules allow to do so as on weekends. That's why teenagers are called the biological "night owls". Usually, the problem of social jet lag occurs when people want to sleep but they need to get up early for school or for any other professional commitments on weekdays.

One of the studies also suggests that 88% of youngsters report going to bed late at night on non-working days, and 44% report going to bed 2 or more hours later than their normal days.

How Social Jet Lag Effects Heath?

As per the recent study, teenagers who go to the bed two or more hours later on the weekends as compared to those who go to bed within two hours of their weekday bedtime face numerous health issues.

They feel irritated and sleepy during the day, struggle with falling and staying asleep. Also, they fall asleep during the day or while studying.

Apart from facing above mentioned hassles, reportedly these kids have more caffeine and face more depressive mood symptoms.

Some common side effects of social jet lag are listed below-

  • Because of social jet lag, people face disturbed sleep problems which include insomnia or early waking and excessive sleepiness.
  • Social jet lag leads to weight gain.
  • Most people struggle with constipation and diarrhea and many stomach problems.
  • Daytime fatigue is the most common side effect.
  • Social jet lag enhances metabolic risk and behavioral problems.
  • Due to a change in sleep schedule during weekends as compared to weekdays, most people may feel 'unwell' or low on energy
  • Could be a cause for depression and may impact the brain in the longer run.

How to Prevent Social Jet Lag or Reduce its Effects?

It is a good thing that jet lag disorder is reversible and its effects can be reduced. Following tips may help you to prevent jet lag-

  1. Keep consistency in the time you wake up

Consistency is one of the most important things. If a person sleeps late on the weekend, he/she should wake up within an hour or two than their normal wake-up time during the weekdays.

  1. Set the time for daily sleep

People should make a thumb rule for the sleeping time at home to overcome Social Jet Lag. One can reduce jet lags effects by fixing the sleeping time every day.

  1. Try to go to bed early

Every small and good habit helps to improve our personality and health. If you want to stay healthy, then you need to break the habit of sleeping late. The effects of jet lags can be decreased by going to bed 30 minutes earlier every night during the week as it gives 3.5 hours of extra sleep in a week.

  1. Take proper rest before the trip

People face difficulty and feel tiring when they travel as the traveling schedule affects the sleep patterns of the person, he/she follows each day. So try to take plenty of rest before the trip to get rid of social jet lag.

  1. Stay hydrated

People should drink at least 8-10 glasses of water to stay hydrated, as dehydration aggravates the problem and makes its symptoms worse. People should also avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these products dehydrate the body and also affect your sleep.

Apart from that, by regulating the bright light exposure at night, fixing the daily routine may also help to prevent Social Jet Lag. Meditation and daily exercise can also help to reduce its effects.

Therefore, by following the above-mentioned tips, you can get rid of social jet lag and improve your health.