Social jetlag, what is it and how could it be affecting your weight and your health? If I was a contestant on Jeopardy or another trivia program and asked "what is social jetlag", my guess would be the fatigue you experience after trying to cram in too many social activities into one's schedule. Let's say you spend happy hour with co-workers at the neighborhood bar, followed by watching your favorite team on the diamond, and then an hour or two playing on Facebook. Then you climb into bed and crash until your alarm starts squawking at you, to get up and head to work,

However, my answer would not take home the prize money. Social jetlag is defined as a syndrome that occurs when our body's biological clock and our actual sleep schedules don't match up. The term "social jetlag" was created by Dr. Till Roenneberg of the University of Munich’s Institute of Medical Psychology, in Germany. 
Doctors and researchers say that instead of your body following its internal clock, sleeping and waking by circadian rhythm, you're forced to adhere to schedules and rely on alarm clocks. 

So instead of your body getting the amount of sleep it requires, its often experiencing a sleep deficit. Dr. Roenneberg feels society would be healthier and more productive if early birds and night owls were able to work schedules that align with their personal body rhythms and sleep schedules.Research conducted by the CDC shows, 41 million American workers don't get enough sleep, and 2/3 of the population experiences social jetlag. Inconsistency in sleep schedules is similar to what shift workers experience and has been linked to an increase in obesity and diabetes. 


How can you combat social jetlag?

  • Spend more time outside during the day or sit by a window, to keep your internal body clock on track
  • Keep the same sleep schedule 7 days a week
  • No television or computer at least an hour before bed time

Do you experience social jetlag?