And other little bites of Health & Performance goodness!
This post was originally written for and shared through my monthly newsletter, the Kinsei-Do Fitness Nuggets, in January 2022.
I'm sure you're familiar with the phenomenon of jetlag, and have sure experienced its annoying effects before. But did you know you don't have to leave your time zone or travel anywhere to be hit by jetlag? In fact, more likely than not, you are experiencing jetlag symptoms far more often than you think, and not only that, you're voluntarily causing your body to have them!
"Social jetlag" occurs when you sleep and wake up on a (very) different schedule on weekends compared to regular weekdays - or when you engage in shift-work - and it can really mess your body and brain up!
Let's say you typically go to bed around 10pm and wake around 6am to go to work or school, but on Friday and Saturday nights, you "live it up" and instead go to bed at 1am or 2am, and then sleep in until 10am the next morning... well, you're essentially putting your body through a four hour time zone shift (as much as if you were to travel from Indonesia to the Middle East, or from the West Coast of the US to the East Coast!).
Needless to say, this can be detrimental to your health, with sleep disorders and digestive issues some of the first problems to show up. So what can you do about that?
Ideally, you try to avoid putting your body through this shift as much as possible, by sleeping and waking on a relatively consistent schedule, regardless of whether it's a working day or a weekend.
But if that sounds utterly uncool and "what's the point of having a weekend"-ish to you, there are still things you can do to help your body deal with the adjustment better:
1) See and avoid light at the right times: expose yourself to (natural, if possible) light in the morning as soon as you can after waking up (on a Saturday and Sunday). But also avoid looking at bright lights (including screens) late in the evening, thus trying to keep your body clock to remain in its "weekday time zone".
2) Eat and exercise at the same times as you would on weekdays, so that means taking your breakfast soon after waking up on Saturday and Sunday, and not having your dinner (much) later than you would on a regular weekday.
Give it a try and you should find that Monday mornings will perhaps get a little bit easier!