After a busy work week many of us find ourselves craving a little extra shut-eye. Without getting our 7-8 hours night after night, the thought process is to “binge sleep” and catch up.
I personally like to binge read a good thriller from James Patterson or Michael Connelly and then get in some extra zzzz’s over and above my 7-8 (reading always puts me to sleep) But sometimes when I wake up, I feel more groggy than rested!
One of the leading researchers in the field, Michael Grandner, PhD, was asked how much sleep-in time the average person can get away with on the weekend before hitting “declining marginal utility” territory. (as Economists would say) Surprisingly, he said that sleeping in for two hours or fewer may not be a problem but after that a phenomenon called “Social Jet Lag” would kick in. This condition has been linked to poorer health, worse mood, sleepiness and fatigue
‘If you’re pretty severely sleep deprived, some sleeping in may mitigate some of the damage,’ Grandner said. ‘But if you’re less sleep deprived, the benefits may be outweighed by the schedule shift.’ Apparently, it’s all about your regular sleep schedule and how much you try to alter your normal sleep patterns
A Northeastern Illinois University study published Wednesday looked specifically at how the social jet lag phenomenon affects students. Out of nearly 15,000 students, only four in 10 appeared to have body clocks that were naturally synchronized with their academic schedules. The remaining 60 percent students suffered from social jet lag of at least 30 minutes. The problem is worst among natural ‘night owls’ – those who would naturally wake up later than their schedules allow. The majority of the students suffering from social jet lag advanced their activity on class days, meaning that they got up and starting doing things earlier. A small subset, however, delayed their activity on class days. The social jet lag was found to negatively impact academic performance and exam grades across the board. The negative impact was less severe in those who delayed activity.
Yet another study by the University of Arizona even found that each hour of social jet lag increased the likelihood of heart disease by 11 percent. ‘It was particularly surprising that these effects were independent of how much sleep people got and any insomnia symptoms,’ lead author Sierra Forbush said. ‘These results indicate that sleep regularity, and not just sleep duration alone, is the most important contribution to good daily health habits.’