Social Jet Lag and Sleep Debt

Do you try to burn the candle at both ends? An interesting article in the New Jersey Monthly talks about how so many of us do try, and our health is what suffers.  The experience is called social jet lag.

Social Jet Lag

An article written in January references a gentleman who believed he had a sleep disorder because he couldn’t stay awake during dinner on the weekends at 7 pm.  However, his weekday routine had him waking regularly at 4 am. He didn’t have a sleep disorder, his body was simply telling him it was time for bed. It turns out, our bodies don’t work the way we want them to; sleep routines are just as important on the weekends as they are during the week.

Sleep Debt

Your sleep habits require a necessary routine, which is what makes sleeping too little during the week and “catching up” on the weekends an unrealistic goal. This is something that a lot of people do, not realizing that it’s making things worse. The concept of sleep hygiene is one that sleep experts suggest become a regular part of an individual’s life.

Sleep Hygiene

The phrase used in this article is called “proper sleep hygiene” – which is an interesting concept to consider.  Necessary sleep hours depend on age group, and adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. We all know that sleep helps us to “rejuvenate, rest, relax and restore” – but one important process discussed in the article is memory consolidation.  

Memory consolidation is the reorganization of our short-term to long-term memory.  Interruption to this process can cause an individual to have difficulty concentrating, among other things.  Additionally, the article discusses the health consequences of lack of sleep already discussed at length on our site and social media  – “high blood pressure, increased stress levels, rapid heart rate, weight gain, a weakened immune system and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Dr. John Villa – the primary sleep professional referenced in the article – gives suggested tips that PDSM shares frequently.  Limit blue light exposure (since it interferes with sleep) for two hours prior to bedtime, use your bed only for sleep and sex, maintain a proper sleep routine, and get rid of distractions 30 minutes before bed.  

If this article struck a chord with you, please follow our Facebook and Twitter feeds to receive sleep tip reminders.  If you’re struggling with larger sleep issues, come see us! We are here to help.

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