Most people wake up with a case of the Mondays, whether you spent your weekend jam-packed with excursions and exciting events, or enjoyed lazy days of lounging in your living room. In fact, those slow, sleepy weekends when you think you’re getting caught up on sleep, turn out to be the ones that lead into the most difficult Mondays.
While you think that you’re catching up and getting prepared for the long, grueling week ahead, the extra shut-eye could be one of the culprits for making Mondays the most challenging day of the week. Multiple studies have found that changing your sleep schedule changes your circadian rhythms, which can cause more problems than you would expect.
Catching Your Circadian Rhythm
Everyone has a circadian rhythm, the innate regulatory system that controls the timing of your body’s desire to sleep or to be awake throughout the day. While this rhythm is different for each person, most adults have an intensive drive to sleep between 2 and 4 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. These time periods might be stronger or weaker based on a person’s tendency to lean toward being a “morning” or “evening” person.
Sleeping more and later on weekends makes your body confused and messes-up your rhythm. Several different studies have compared an irregular sleep schedule to giving yourself a slight case of jet lag every weekend.
“If you sleep a little bit too little all the time, and just catch up on the weekends, you are messing with your circadian rhythms. You should stay on a regular schedule, but that doesn’t really work with most people’s lives.” – Susanna Jernelöv, Sleep researcher, Sweden’s Karolinska Institute.
A University of Pittsburgh study was published in the The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows that this specific type of jet lag, called societal jet lag, has some serious and even severe repercussions.
Societal Jet Lag, Every Sunday: What’s the Problem?
This tendency, societal jet lag, occurs when your natural circadian rhythm doesn’t match the sleep schedule that you need to fit into your society.
Researchers found that even healthy adults who find themselves suffering from societal jet lag can end up facing diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and a variety of other metabolic problems. They had lower amounts of good cholesterol, increased weight gain and higher amounts of fatty substances in their blood.
The study found, though, that there is a quick and easy solution – Don’t change your alarm clock.
Wake up at the same time each day, and go to bed at the same time, too, giving yourself enough time to get a solid night of sleep.
Tough it out for a weekend or two and kiss your case of the Mondays good-bye (or at least make it much better).