‘Social Jet Lag’: Why Sleeping In May Be Bad For Your Heart

Are you living that jet set life? Maybe you’re more into catching flights instead of feelings, but trying to catch up on the sleep you’re missing could mess with your heart, according to new research.

What is Social Jet Lag?

Coined in 2006 by researchers studying the ways in which social schedules mess with our natural rhythm, social jet lag, like the tiredness one feels when traveling between time zones, occurs when you set a specific sleep pattern during the work week only to throw it all away by crashing a little bit longer on your days off (weekends). According to experts, this royally messes with your circadian rhythm. In other words, while your body grows accustom to one kind of sleep-wake pattern during the week, come Monday you may feel like you were hit by a Mack truck because that pattern was drastically disrupted on the weekend.

“A lot of people will be waking up at 7 a.m. on weekdays, but going to bed later and sleeping in on the weekends to compensate,” study leader, Sierra Forbush at the University of Arizona in Tucson recently told New Scientist.

For the study, Forbush and her team surveyed about 984 adults — ages 22 to 60 — living in Pennsylvania. To calculate how much social jet lag they experienced each week, Forbush found the midpoints between when people said they went to bed and woke up on weekdays and weekends.

After adjusting several factors, including for how long people slept each week, and whether they suffered from insomnia, the team discovered that “for every hour of social jet lag, there was an 11 percent increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease.” There was also a link to increased sleepiness and fatigue, as well as being moody.