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When you wake up in the morning, you are tired. Your body feels heavy, your eyes won’t open, you are loathe to get out of bed. You shuffle from shower to kitchen and you don’t really start to wake up until the sunlight hits your face on the way to the car. It’s not the flu, it’s an overwhelmingly common condition we put ourselves in called “social jet lag”. This is what happens when life is a little too modern.
It’s well known that poor sleep affects your health, energy, weight, metabolism, and stress management. People who get poor sleep go crazy, get depressed, and the body gains weight without control. Sound familiar? These symptoms are awfully similar to first-world-itis, that condition affecting so many professionals who find themselves depressed, stressed, and physically unwell. The source? Accidentally jet-lagging ourselves with modern life.
Jet lag is that condition we get when we travel across time zones and the sun doesn’t match our sense of day and night anymore. The world feels turned upside-down. Appetites and eating habits change. It becomes either impossible to sleep or you find yourself passing out at the wrong times. Jet lag makes you crazy, irritable, and disoriented. If you travel out of sync for too long without re-aligning your day with the sun, the symptoms get worse over time. Any significant alteration to sleep schedule will lead to social jet lag, since the body is naturally designed to go to sleep and wake up again at the same time each day.
Sadly, there is a good chance you are affected by social jet lag. It’s been estimated that, incredibly, a full two-thirds of the population suffers from social jet lag.
Social jetlag is when we get out of sync with the sun without any travel at all, often in response to social influences like changing work schedules and weekend late-nights. Right now, it’s estimated that 87% of people are not thriving due to being out of sync with the day/night cycle.
There’s a reason that knowing where the sun is matters to sanity and sleep. When we deny ourselves a daily cycle and become out of sync with the sun in an essential circadian way, the symptoms of jet lag rear their ugly head.
Social jet lag is bad, bad news. Sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health. In fact, it just might be the secret to having a healthy body and mind. The renowned sleep expert Matthew Walker has even stated: “More than exercise, diet and wealth, science has shown that sleep is the most important factor to our physical and mental wellbeing.”
Scientific research has demonstrated that social jet lag does indeed have awful effects. One study showed that social jet lag is connected to worse health and mood. For each hour of social jet lag, there is an 11% increase in risk for heart disease. Another study even showed that social jet lag harms balance control. The other ill effects of social jet lag include higher risk for obesity and diabetes, cognitive and memory impairment, and a higher chance for depression.
The effects of social jet lag are similar to those of burnout, depression, anxiety, and other conditions that raise stress levels. Nonetheless, the problems are still distinct. Burnout is more of a psychological phenomenon, while social jet lag is connected to the physiological effects of a disrupted sleep pattern. When combined together, however, these and similar problems can compound, making stress and anxiety even worse.
Social jet lag is when society pushes your sleep cycle out of place. There are two ways to reclaim your energy and your sleep quality. The first is to re-align your circadian rhythm – your sense of the sun’s position and your ideal sleep cycle – by building a predictable schedule and spending more time in the sunlight. A camping trip can quickly realign you with no other influences, while two sunny walks a day will give your mind a mental reference for the proper time of day.
Your second option is to manipulate your neurotransmitters. By refreshing your mind with the right vitamins and herbs, you can reset your need for sleep and simulate the benefits you get from spending time in the sun or going to bed at sunset. One of the best ways to fight against social jet lag is to take CBD. We like the Lit From Within CBD or The Keeper’s Stash Honey blend for that boost when you need to feel a good night’s sleep even if you didn’t catch one.
Combined with smart light and heat management, you can build your schedule to whatever it needs to be and help your brain feel that this is the right schedule, even if you’re working third shift.
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