It sounds more like a made-up excuse than a true medical condition. But social jet lag is a real thing and new research at the University of Arizona found it might lead to a host of health issues such as worse moods, chronic fatigue and even an increased risk of heart disease.
If you tend to keep to a regular sleep schedule during the week, but then turn into a late-night party animal on the weekends, you may be risking your health, new research suggests.
Sleep experts call this sleep pattern “social jet lag,” a mismatch between your body’s biological clock and your actual sleep pattern due to social activities.
According to NewScientist.com, “Social jet lag is similar to the tiredness people feel when traveling from one time zone to another, but has a different cause. “A lot of people will be waking up at 7 am on weekdays, but going to bed later and sleeping in on the weekends to compensate,” says Sierra Forbush at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The (UofA) team found that for every hour of social jetlag, there was an 11 per cent increase in the likelihood of a person having cardiovascular disease. Social jetlag was also linked to worse mood and increased sleepiness and fatigue.
Yahoo.com put together a short video on social jet lag. You can watch it by clicking here or on the picture below.
To see if making up for lost sleep by sleeping in on the weekend was a good idea, the UofA research team analyzed sleep data from 984 adults between the ages of 22 and 60 years. MedicalDaily.com wrote:
To determine if an individual suffered from social jet lag, the researchers subtracted their weekday sleep midpoint from the weekend one. Sleeping patterns were gathered through the Sleep Timing Questionnaire, which is used as an alternative to a sleep diary. It assesses habitual bedtimes and wake times. Participants’ health was self-reported using a scale and survey questions.
GoodHousekeeping.com quoted Sierra Forbush, an undergraduate research assistant and lead author of the study, as saying, “These results indicate that sleep regularity, beyond sleep duration alone, plays a significant role in our health. This suggests that a regular sleep schedule may be an effective, relatively simple, and inexpensive preventative treatment for heart disease as well as many other health problems.”
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that we should get seven or more hours of sleep on a regular basis to promote optimal health. In addition to getting enough sleep, healthy sleep requires good quality, appropriate timing and regularity.
Share your thoughts on this new study and whether you are one of the many people who hits the snooze button to try to make up for lost sleep when the weekend rolls around! This research, taking place right here in Arizona, shows us there is some incredible health related work being in our state. The kind of work that will help drive better health in Arizona. And the healthier we are, the closer we get to our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!