How social jetlag is hurting your health.
Plus: Recipes to help you recover this weekend!
“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” - Arianna Huffington
Friday. In today’s edition of TikTok trends that probably do more harm than good, I present you: “bed rotting.” The trend where people lie in bed all day in the name of self-care has gained over 160 million views. I don’t think this is groundbreaking information, but despite the appeal of binging Netflix and takeout, “bed rotting” might not be the way to go. It can lead to depression exacerbation, loneliness, and anxiety. Plus, it probably won’t do your waistline any favors in the long run. Moving on to something else that isn’t doing you any favors: social jetlag. What is social jetlag, and how is it impacting your health? Let’s dive in.
Together with Inside Hotels
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Too Much Social Jetlag
The concept of social jetlag might not be something you have heard of before, but it’s something we should all consider as we balance our busy work lives during the week and our social commitments on the weekends. While staying up late and waking up even later on weekends may seem like a harmless indulgence, recent research suggests otherwise. This inconsistency between weekday and weekend sleep routines has been identified as a form of “social jetlag,” and its impacts are more severe than you might expect.
A recent study involving approximately 1,000 individuals found a concerning correlation between social jetlag and several aspects of health, notably gut health and cardiometabolic factors. For every hour of sleep misalignment, there’s a 3% increase in the likelihood of having an unhealthy BMI. It turns out that a misalignment between your biological clock and your social calendar can significantly impact your weight. Yikes.
But the real surprising takeaway from the study is the extent to which social jetlag can affect your microbiome and hunger hormones, such as ghrelin. Researchers found that individuals experiencing social jetlag had a greater appetite for foods high in calories. Essentially, the more you disrupt your internal body clock, the more you set the stage for consuming foods you usually want to avoid.
The good news is that the solution doesn’t call for any drastic changes. You don’t need to cut out social events or late-night activities altogether. The key is just consistency. Aim for a uniform sleep schedule similar to weekdays when you don’t have specific plans that keep you up late. This consistency helps regulate your internal body clock and can mitigate the negative effects of social jetlag. So unless you are going out every weekend, you should be in the clear.
In today’s fast-paced society, the “always-on” mentality often leads us to compromise sleep for productivity or leisure. Beyond its immediate impact on weight and gut health, it’s worth noting that sleep consistency is also crucial for cognitive function, emotional well-being, and even longevity.
Inconsistent sleep patterns can lead to decreased alertness and impaired decision-making, affecting work performance and interpersonal relationships. Over time, chronic disruptions in sleep could even have cascading effects that contribute to more severe health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative conditions.
And it’s not solely about individual responsibility either. Employers and social institutions aren’t helping us solve the problem. As more organizations adopt flexible working hours and work-from-home policies, there’s an opportunity to rethink traditional 9-to-5 structures that often clash with our natural circadian rhythms. The “always-on” mentality has taken on an entirely new meaning for many people who now work from home.
While policy and societal changes are long-term strategies, there are immediate actions you can take. Simple tweaks like avoiding caffeine and electronic screens before bedtime or getting some morning sunlight to help reset your internal clock can go a long way in mitigating the effects of social jetlag. Plus, those are healthy habits you should try to adopt anyway.
The key takeaway? The next time you’re tempted to dramatically alter your sleep schedule for the weekend, consider its impact on your health first. A night of fun now and then is okay, but enjoying your weekends should never come at the expense of your well-being. By being more mindful of our sleep patterns and making minor but consistent adjustments, we can enjoy our social lives without compromising our health.
1. Recover This Weekend With This Refreshing Salad!
Tomatoes, cucumbers, and a touch of cheese. Just a refreshing salad to make you feel good and nourished this weekend!
2. The Perfect Soup Does Exist!
Depending on where you live, you might be getting a bit of actual Fall weather this week. That means we can finally make soup and feel good about it. Enjoy this delicious chicken enchilada soup recipe! Yum.
3. Protein and Veggies — What More Do You Need?
A little chicken and broccoli stir fry always hits the spot! Enjoy.
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