It's an incredibly common practice. Your weekdays call for an earlier wake-up time than you would set for yourself if you didn't have to get up. You begrudgingly get out of bed at the necessary time, say, 6:30 a.m. You're exhausted all week but trudge through your social obligations, and come Saturday, you sleep in for hours past your workweek wake-up time to make up for lost sleep and kick your exhaustion. Seems to be working okay for you, right? Well, science has some other ideas that may make you reconsider.
"Social jetlag" is the term that's been coined to describe a permanently misaligned body clock where your natural rhythm (which is largely determined by genetics) doesn't fit with the required work times of most offices. Now, New Scientist reports that social jetlag may increase your risk of heart disease.
Researchers at University of Arizona in Tucson analyzed data from nearly 1000 adults living in Pennsylvania and found that for every hour of social jetlag (which could mean going to bed at midnight and waking up at 8 a.m. on weekends, versus an 11 p.m. bedtime and 7 a.m. wake-up time during workweeks), there was an 11% increase in the likelihood of having cardiovascular disease.
Unsurprisingly, social jetlag was also linked to bad mood and fatigue. The bottom line is that your body craves consistency, whether you are a morning person or night owl by nature, and both going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is best for health.
To read more about social jetlag, head over to New Scientist, and shop our editor's sleep essentials below.