Sleep is an essential part of our overall well-being, yet in today’s fast-paced and connected world, getting a good night’s rest has become increasingly difficult. The phenomenon known as ‘social jetlag’ has emerged, where individuals experience a misalignment between their natural sleep patterns and the demands of their daily lives. This article will discuss further social jetlag, its causes, and its impact on our health and productivity.
Understanding Social Jetlag
When it comes to sleeping, you know that having a routine always helps in maintaining and managing your body clock. In this way, your brain knows when to signal your body to feel sleepy when bedtime comes. However, if you often change your sleeping pattern due to multiple events over the weekend, it might disrupt your body clock, which causes you to experience “social jetlag.”
Before we go over this article, we must first understand what social jetlag is. Social jetlag might be a term that is not new to you, but you don’t give it as much time to comprehend. Aside from that, it is something that you are going through without knowing it.
Social jetlag is the discrepancy between the body clock and the outside factors. It occurs when you don’t go to bed at the same time every night, which results in a disruption in your circadian rhythm. If there are changes in a person’s circadian rhythm in a 24-hour cycle, it causes the body to get out of sync with its natural sleep cycle, which can lead to a poor sleeping routine.
In addition, your body can start acting like it’s still nighttime even though it’s daytime outside. This can make it hard to fall asleep at night because your body thinks it’s still early in the evening or difficult to wake up in the morning because your body thinks it’s still late at night. This will significantly affect your daily mood and decisions and even cloud your thinking because you will easily get irritated, even with little inconveniences. You might also need the help of a sleep apnea machine to help you get back to your routine.
Are you wondering what makes social jetlag different from regular jetlag experienced after long-distance travel? To answer it, the main difference between social jetlag and regular jet lag is that social jetlag happens gradually over months and years, while regular jet lag happens suddenly after air travel across time zones. Additionally, social jetlag isn’t as severe as regular jetlag, but it can still affect your health and mood.
The Causes of Social Jetlag
When you have social jetlag, you feel groggy and out of sync because your body clock is on a different schedule than your environment. Your body wants to sleep at certain times, but you’re forced to stay up later. It occurs when an individual’s sleep-wake cycle is in conflict with their work or social schedule. This can cause tiredness and poor performance during the day and insomnia or excessive sleepiness at night. Improving it will require help from various treatments or the use of a sleep apnea machine for better sleep.
Shift work, lengthy commutes, or even just having a busy schedule that prevents you from getting enough sleep can all contribute to social jetlag. You must pay attention to these causes because you might not be aware that you are going through them.
To discuss it further, some of the causes of social jetlag may include:
Irregular Work Schedule
People with social jetlag have a longer than normal period of time to fall asleep. As a result, they are more likely to wake up during the night or early morning and have a hard time falling back asleep. This can lead to daytime grogginess, mood swings, and general fatigue.
If you have inconsistent work duty, it can be hard for you to stick to a sleeping pattern. This can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which makes it hard for you to sleep well and wake up refreshed. This is extremely true, especially if your work requires you to travel a lot or even shift from night to day schedules.
Excessive Screen Time Before Bed
When you spend excessive time on gadgets, it can make you feel tired and groggy during the day. This will result in insufficient sleep. These devices emit bright light, which interferes with melatonin production in our brains and suppresses it during the evening hours.
More importantly, excessive screen time before bed also increases our chances of insomnia and social jetlag because it makes us feel stressed or anxious about what needs to be done tomorrow or during the next day at work or school.
Aside from that, you won’t get sleepy easily because you are having fun with your gadget, which can negatively impact your sleeping pattern. At times like this, you may need assistance to help you fall asleep faster from any sleep apnea machine or other non-invasive treatments.
Societal Pressures to Be Constantly Available
Another cause of social jetlag is not having boundaries when it comes to being available. Sometimes, being pressured to go out and socialize beyond your sleeping schedule causes social jetlag because you go over your sleeping time. You must keep in mind that sometimes saying no will be beneficial for you and your overall health.
The Impact on Health
Regardless of age and gender, each person must have enough sleep at night to feel refreshed and recharged to go on with their daily activities. The emphasis on getting quality sleep at night is a goal you must have daily. There are a lot of adverse effects that a person may experience or develop when deprived of a good night’s sleep.
Social jetlag can have serious consequences for our health in both the physical and mental aspects. When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies are deprived of time to recover from the things that keep us from getting tired. This can cause a lot of complications that can emerge over time. Research shows that people can suffer from chronic health problems like obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses when experiencing social jetlag for a long time.
It’s also vital to note that social jetlag affects a person’s mental health. People who had longer periods of social jetlag were more likely to develop depression or have symptoms of depression than those who didn’t have as much discrepancy between their internal clocks and their schedules.
Furthermore, the less time we spend sleeping, the more likely we are to experience depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems. Sleep also helps our brains process information and make decisions. When we don’t get enough sleep, our brains may not work as well as they should, which results in poor cognitive function.
When faced with this, you might need professional help, which may result in you being suggested to go on therapy or use a sleep apnea machine to help you improve your sleep. You must be aware of these impacts because the detrimental effects of social jetlag are something that you should make a big deal of.
Productivity Loss in the Workplace
The way a person functions is greatly influenced by the quality of sleep that he or she gets every night. People of all ages can be affected by social jetlag; however, it commonly affects people who are working and have a hectic work routine.
When a person is unable to function properly, it results in productivity loss in a professional setting. This is because social jet lag causes poor cognitive function, which is the main cause of decreased creativity, clouded judgment, poor decision-making, and absent-mindedness.
Sleep deprivation can cause social jetlag and impaired reaction time. With this, you pay less attention to details and are more likely to make mistakes and forget important things that need to be prioritized in the work setting. Moreover, you may develop bad blood between your coworkers because suffering from social jetlag leads to irritation, mood swings, and stress.
Even with a busy schedule, you must bear in mind that having a good night’s sleep is a must. It will be beneficial for you to prioritize sleep over any work hassle because, in this way, you will be able to deal with work stress better. If you also have enough sleep, you can reach your full potential, which the company or your workplace will be thankful for.
Strategies for Overcoming Social Jetlag
When the social jetlag is not yet long-term, you need to reverse it right away so that you won’t need any treatment from a doctor or, worse, use any sleep apnea machine to help regulate your sleep. This is a lot more hassle than making a habit of forming a healthy sleeping pattern.
To add to this, there are many treatments and home remedies that will manage your social jetlag on your own terms. These are non-invasive techniques that you can do without supervision or even guidance from any professional. Some of the strategies that you need to consider may include:
Creating a Sleep-Friendly Environment
The atmosphere and mood of your room are important in creating a space for sleeping. Creating the perfect room for sleeping involves getting rid of distractions that might disrupt sleep, which makes your space more sleep-friendly. You can also add blackout curtains, soft pillows, and sheets, which surely make your space more comfortable and conducive to sleeping.
Stick to a Strict Sleep Schedule
Sticking to your sleep schedule throughout the week, even on weekends, is a great strategy to overcome social jetlag. It is important to remember that sticking to a strict sleep schedule requires discipline because if you go over it, you will find it hard to get back to it again. It will disrupt your routine and trigger social jetlag.
Once you are on a schedule and doing it consistently, your body will adjust accordingly. Having a strict sleep schedule is not easy if you are used to sleeping in late and staying up late for a long time. However, you must adhere to it to prevent any future complications.
Proper Exercise and Meal Intake
Having proper exercise and meal intake helps improve your sleep quality because you have a healthy lifestyle. By spending time exercising every day, it makes you tired faster, so it’s easier for you to fall asleep quickly after a short period of time. It also promotes a better mood, which can help you get better sleep quality at night.
However, if possible, try not to eat heavy meals just before going to bed because it usually makes people feel bloated and uncomfortable when they lie down on their beds, which can trigger insomnia or social jetlag. When you don’t have a healthy lifestyle, you are more susceptible to social jetlag, which can trigger a lot of medical conditions or push you to use CPAP machines or sleep apnea machines to help you have a better sleep.
The Importance of Advocating for Better Sleep Habits
We are mainly living in a society where sleep is not a big deal, especially if you have a hustle lifestyle. However, this is because we are taught and brainwashed into thinking that sleeping is not important, when, in fact, it is a vital part of anyone’s life.
Sleep deprivation is not only an individual problem; it can also have repercussions for society as a whole. Sleep deprivation is somehow intercorrelated from car accidents to job performance. Poor sleep quality can also lead to poor health outcomes.
We must promote healthy sleeping habits not just individually but also in the workplace. In order for a professional to work at their maximum potential, they must get sufficient rest. With this, companies and other workplaces should prioritize giving their employees enough rest and promote a better work-life balance by setting boundaries and emphasizing the importance of sleep.
With quality sleep, people are less likely to develop social jetlag or any other sleeping disorder, significantly improving their mood and cognitive function, resulting in better work performance. It will also prevent the use of any sleep apnea machine or CPAP machine to aid in sleep.
The negative effects of a bad night’s rest are plenty. Due to this, advocating for restorative sleep is a must because it will enlighten a lot of people about the aftereffects and long-term consequences of depriving yourself of enough sleep at night.
In conclusion, ‘social jetlag’ has become a prevalent issue in modern society, with many individuals sacrificing quality sleep due to the demands of their daily lives. It is crucial that we recognize the importance of prioritizing rest and take proactive steps to combat social jetlag for the sake of our health, productivity, and overall well-being. Social jetlag is something that we must take action on immediately because it can lead to more serious health problems that will require you to use a sleep apnea machine or even try different treatments to regulate your sleep.