The Real Reason You're a Tired Mess on Mondays
By Deborah Dunham
Did you know that staying up just an hour or two later on the weekend can wreak havoc on your sleep, not to mention your mood? There’s even a name for it: social jet lag.
According to Shelby Freedman Harris, YouBeauty Sleep Expert and director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, social jet lag is becoming more prevalent. “It isn’t necessarily a sleep disorder that we would actually diagnose someone with clinically, but it is a trend where we notice that people aren’t sticking with the same sleep-wake schedule every day,” Harris explains.
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And that comes with a price: Staying out until the wee hours Friday and Saturday nights and then sleeping in both days can throw our body clocks out of whack. So much so that we can have trouble adjusting to our “regular” sleep time when it’s Sunday night, leaving us dragging and grumpy the next day.
All of this happens because we’re messing with our circadian rhythm-that internal body clock that governs our sleep/wake times, as well as our appetite. Think of staying up past your usual bedtime as having a similar affect on your body as jet lag after traveling. You’re putting your body into a different time zone when you sleep late on Saturday and Sunday, according to Harris.
Come Sunday night, that confused internal clock has a tougher time readjusting to your normal weekday schedule and then hello, annoying Sunday night insomnia. “You eat on a different schedule on the weekends, exercise differently and get light exposure later-all of this delays the circadian rhythm,” adds Harris.
To get you back on track, here are some tips on reigning in social jet lag so you don’t pay the price Monday morning-or give up your girl’s night out:
1. Get a solid night’s sleep each night during the week. Avoid going into the weekend with a sleep debt. If you get a good night’s sleep during the week, a weekend deficit will be easier to handle.