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Overcoming Social Jet Lag

Overcoming Social Jet Lag

If your weekend anthem is Atlantic Starr’s, “We Party Hearty,” but on weekdays you’re quietly humming Dolly Parton’s “Working Nine to Five,” you’re a candidate for Social Jet Lag. And that doesn’t mean you’re one step behind on your Facebook posts or retweets.

Social Jet Lag (SJL) happens when there’s a habitual discrepancy between your workweek sleep cycle and your weekend habit of going to bed later and sleeping-in. Whether you’re a morning or a night person, that combo disrupts your internal body clock (circadian rhythm) and throws your hormones out of whack, creating a metabolic mess that ups your risk for a cascade of health issues. 

Looking at folks 30-54 researchers found that even weekenders with just a little shift in sleep-awake times had lower levels of good HDL cholesterol, higher levels of triglycerides, were more often insulin resistant and obese! And the German researcher, who coined the term Social Jet Lag in 2006, found that only 10 percent of people without SJL smoked, but 60 percent of folks with a four-hour shift from their natural circadian rhythm did.

So if you’re struggling to lower your LDL cholesterol, control your blood pressure, quit smoking, or lose weight, ask yourself if SJL could be making it harder. Try to keep your weekend bedtime within 30-45 minutes of your weeknight schedule. Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. It’ll be worth it. You’ll have more energy on both weekdays and weekends and live a longer, healthier life.

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