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What is social jetlag? 5 signs you’re going through it

Ever feel like you're living in two different time zones? Drag yourself out of bed for work but sleep like a baby on weekends? That's social jet lag, and it's more common than you might think.

Written By: Rahul Pratyush @29_pratyush New Delhi Published on: May 23, 2024 15:14 IST
social jetlag
Image Source : GOOGLE What is social jetlag? 5 signs you’re going through it

In today's fast-paced society, where schedules are often hectic and sleep is sometimes sacrificed, a phenomenon known as "social jetlag" has emerged as a significant concern for many. Despite its name, social jetlag has little to do with air travel and everything to do with the misalignment between our body's internal clock (circadian rhythm) and the demands of our social and work schedules. This misalignment can have profound effects on our health and well-being. Let's delve into what social jetlag is and five signs that you may be experiencing it.

What is Social Jetlag?

Our bodies have an internal clock that regulates feelings of sleepiness and alertness. This clock is influenced by light exposure. Ideally, we'd go to sleep when it gets dark and wake up with natural light. However, modern life often disrupts this rhythm. We stay up late under bright lights during the week and sleep in on weekends. This inconsistency confuses our internal clock, leading to social jetlag.

Signs you're going through social jetlag:

  • Morning Mayhem: Hitting the snooze button repeatedly? Struggling to feel awake even with a full night's sleep according to the clock? These morning struggles indicate your sleep schedule is out of sync with your body's natural rhythm.
  • Weekend Warrior Sleep: Do you crave sleep all weekend to catch up from the week? This is a classic sign your weekday schedule is out of sync with your body's natural rhythm.
  • Unhealthy Habits: Do you crave sugary drinks or caffeine to compensate for low energy? Social jetlag can disrupt your metabolism and lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
  • Brain Fog: Difficulty concentrating, remembering things, or feeling mentally foggy? Social jet lag can mess with your cognitive function, making it harder to focus and be productive.
  • Afternoon Slump: Feeling like you need a nap in the middle of the day? That afternoon slump can be caused by social jet lag disrupting your natural energy levels.
  • Mood Swings: Does your mood fluctuate depending on the day? Social jet lag can contribute to irritability, frustration, and even symptoms of depression.

How to combat social jetlag:

  • Stick to a Sleep Schedule: As much as possible, try to go to bed and wake up at consistent times, even on weekends.
  • Embrace the Sunshine: Get regular exposure to natural light, especially in the mornings, to regulate your circadian rhythm.
  • Wind Down Routine: Develop a relaxing bedtime routine to signal to your body it's time to wind down.
  • Listen to Your Body: If you're tired, go to bed! Don't force yourself to stay awake for social activities.
  • Limit screen time before bed: The blue light emitted from electronic devices can interfere with sleep.
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