Social Jet-Lag

Have you heard about social jet-lag?  This was a new-to-me term that I heard on the radio yesterday AM.

According to German researcher Till Roenneberg, the disconnect between our social calendars and our biological clocks is creating a kind of jet lag — he’s dubbed it “social jet lag.”

Warning – video has annoying alarm clock noises!  

A consequence of the disconnect– expanding waistlines. According to Roennberg, “The larger the discrepancy between social time and what your biological clock tells you to do, the more likely it is you are [overweight or obese].”  (Source)

The people most succeptible to social jet-lag are those whose weekday schedule is very different from their weekend schedule.  For example, you wake up at 5am and go to bed at 10pm Monday-Friday but wake up at 10am and stay out until 2am Saturday and Sunday.  That schedule difference can cause feeling, signs, symptoms of the jet lag you’d feel if you had switched time zones!

In his paper, published in Current Biology, Roenneberg estimates that for every hour of social jet lag, the risk of being overweight or obese rises about 33 percent.

“As sleep researchers, we do believe that there’s an intimate relationship between insufficient sleep and the drive to store fat,” Dr. Helene Emsellem of the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase, Md., told NPR.  Our bodies have a hard-wiring to store fat when sleep-deprived because the body reacts that there’s something wrong/danger is at-bay.

Bottom line – try to sleep more and stay on a schedule.  Sleep longer and better.  Easier said than done, right?  I’m drinking my AM caffeine as I type this after being wide awake from 1am-3am.  That’s not normal for me but it happens.

Someone who doesn’t have trouble sleeping:

Do you stay on the same schedule weekdays and weekends?  I’ve always been an early riser and do tend to stay pretty consistent with rising and shining 7 days/week.