Do you find yourself living for the weekend so that you can catch up on sleep? Or are the weekends an opportunity for you to stay up late, but that means you end up feeling tired during the week? Well, you could be suffering from social jetlag.
Missing out on a full night of rest and recovery, especially if you must force yourself awake each weekday morning with an alarm clock, creates a sleep debt for some people who need to make up for this lost sleep time over the weekends. However, this sudden difference or disruption in sleeping patterns for two days creates a ‘jetlag’ of sorts when you switch back to your social schedule on Monday.
Some common, everyday symptoms of social jetlag can include:
- feeling intensely groggy in the morning
- feeling sleepy or ‘jetlagged’ during the day
- experiencing poor concentration
- experiencing stress, depression, or irritability
- taking longer to fall asleep at night
How to bounce back from social jetlag?
If you are a lark (a natural early riser), try to maintain your sleep times every day. You may be tempted to stay up late every Friday and Saturday because, hey, it’s the weekend. However, this shift will either create a sleep debt if you still wake up at the same time or social jetlag during the week if you sleep in on the weekend.
If you are an owl (a natural late riser), look into changing your work and study schedules to fit your sleeping patterns. By allowing yourself to sleep later during the week, you will be able to maintain a consistent sleep time on the weekends as well. Where possible, it’s important to work in accordance with your chronotype rather than working against it and constantly struggling with social jetlag.
No matter what your chronotype is, remember: keeping a regular sleep pattern is as important as the quantity of sleep we have.