Social Jet Lag: What The Heck Is That?
Social Jet Lag (SJL) is a term used to describe the practice of sleeping in on weekends in order to somehow "catch up" on your sleep. Seems like a good idea, but some scary new science shows that it may be increasing your chances of getting heart disease.
At the recent SLEEP 2017 conference, Sierra Forbush described an as-yet unpublished study that sought to find out if sleep regularity, despite sleep duration, impacted overall quality of health.
It was found that "the disruption to the body's circadian clock caused by late-night bedtimes followed by later weekend wake times appears to be an independent risk factor for poorer health."
In short, each hour of sleeping in was associated with an 11.1% increase in risk of heart disease. Earlier studies have shown that social jet lag is also linked to bad moods, increased sleepiness, and fatigue.
While the exact mechanisms aren't known yet, we can safely say that disturbances in our circadian rhythms are bad news. The solution? Sleep regularity: getting your golden 7-9 hours a night, every night, consistently.
It only makes sense. We didn't evolve in a world of weekends and weekdays. Our bodies evolved with cycles. So screwing with your circadian rhythm screws you over.
How to Hack Your Circadian Rhythm
So how do you get on a good sleep rhythm? Practicing good sleep "hygiene" is the first line of defense:
- Stop eating about two hours before you plan on sleeping. Here's some more info on the problem with late-night eating.
- Turn off all artificial light 30-60 minutes before you plan on being in bed. Yep, that means your phone. This will help your brain start producing melatonin which equals you getting better sleep. Break out the candles if needed.
- Keep a to-do list near your sink to write down the incessant list of things your brain seems to panic about right as you're trying to wind down.
- Do things like take a bath, stretching, or meditation. DON'T do stressful things like a CrossFit class, fighting with your significant other, or reading the latest email from your boss.
- Make sure your room is dark and cool. Keep the lighting of your room vampire-like, and keep the temperature down.
- Certain herbs and compounds can help sleep and stress levels, like passionflower and kava kava.
- The right combination of PhGABA, 5-HTP, and L-Theanine will reduce anxiety and trigger a happy night of deep, restorative sleep. Get that stack in Biotest Z-12™. Best of all, Z-12™ doesn't cause any "hangover" effects.
- Salynn Boyles, "'Social Jet Lag' Called Potentially Hazardous: Sleeping in on weekends linked to more fatigue, higher CVD risk," Medpage Today