Social jet lag, defined as the misalignment between our internal body clock and our daily schedule, can significantly impact us in the lead-up to the holiday season. As festivities ramp up, irregular sleep patterns become common.
Heading into the holiday season, this feeling can exacerbate the stress and fatigue associated with this busy time of year. As you attend more social events, work longer hours, or engage in holiday preparations, your sleep schedule may become increasingly erratic resulting in a disruption to your internal body clock
The impact of social jet lag
Social jet lag disrupts your natural circadian rhythms, resulting in fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. It hinders your body's ability to recharge, making it harder to cope with the demands of the season. Emotionally, it can lead to increased stress and hinder your ability to fully enjoy the holidays with loved ones.
How to best manage social jet lag
Prioritising consistent sleep routines is key to counteracting the effects of social jet lag and ensuring a healthier, more enjoyable holiday season. We know that your schedule and demands leading up to Christmas (and beyond!), means it’s impossible to keep the perfect sleep schedule. But when you make sleep a priority, you will find the impact of social jet lag will lessen. Here are a few simple tips to try and keep in mind.
Maintain a consistent sleep schedule - aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. This helps regulate your body's internal clock and minimises disruptions to your natural circadian rhythm.
Make gradual adjustments - if you anticipate a change in your schedule, try making gradual adjustments over several days. This can help your body adapt more smoothly, reducing the likelihood of experiencing social jetlag.
Limit evening light exposure - exposure to bright lights in the evening can suppress melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep. Dim the lights in the evening and avoid screens that emit blue light, such as phones and computers, at least an hour before bedtime.
Maintain a relaxing bedtime routine - establish calming pre-sleep rituals, such as reading, gentle stretches, or meditation, to signal to your body that it's time to wind down. This routine helps prepare your mind and body for restful sleep.
Though we are still a number of weeks away from Christmas itself, this is the perfect time to start to plan ahead and ensure you enter the holiday season as calm, relaxed and prepared as possible.