Here's Why You Feel Jet-Lagged After Daylight Savings

Here's Why You Feel Jet-Lagged After Daylight Savings
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Do you wake up with a "Case of the Mondays?" You know, that unshakable feeling of grogginess -- or grumpiness -- that causes you to down an entire pot of coffee before 10 a.m.?

This effect happens as a result of shifting sleep patterns between the workweek and weekend, and can have lasting results including feelings of anxiety, sadness, or stress -- or a lack of passion and motivation on Monday morning. Perhaps it's no coincidence, then, that Monday is the day we see:

  • An increase in heart attacks.
  • An increase in traffic accidents.
  • The most workplace injuries occur (according to the annual report on "Nonfatal Occupational Injuries And Illnesses" by the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Feeling A Sleep Hangover After The Weekend? Here's Why
Shifting our sleep patterns on the weekends is such an interruption to our natural cycle, it's akin to jet lag -- traveling across time zones. They both create a misalignment between our internal circadian rhythms, and the newly imposed structure of our days. But unlike flying jet lag, this weekend "social jet lag" is repeated every seven days with little time to recover -- and influences our performance and health every week!

In fact, a recent study looked at the sleep schedules of 447 healthy adults. And (not surprisingly) all participants shifted their sleep schedules on their days off: 85 percent stayed up later and slept in; 15 percent went to bed and woke up earlier; and almost a quarter (24.8 percent) shifted their sleep by an hour or more. Compared to those who shifted their schedule less, blood work on this group revealed risk factors for type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease:

  • Significantly higher triglycerides
  • Lower HDL-cholesterol levels (the "good" heart-healthy cholesterol)
  • Higher adipose fat levels: greater waist circumferences
  • Higher fasting insulin levels and greater insulin resistance

While these findings don't explain causality, it is more evidence that irregular sleep schedules, like social jet lag, are associated with unwelcome health outcomes.

Rethinking Daylight Savings: What We Can Do To Make It Easier
Fast forward to THIS Monday -- when we "Spring forward" and lose an hour of sleep due to the onset of Daylight Saving Time (DST). It happens on a weekend, when your circadian rhythms have already adjusted to meet your weekend sleeping patterns, so waking up earlier on Monday morning requires a "recalibration" for your body, which leaves you feeling jet lagged and un-refreshed.

Some argue: why do we even need DST? But, we'll leave that for another day. Since it's inevitable... why not lose the hour mid-week -- so it's easier on our circadian rhythms since we're getting more sleep and are back on normal schedules?

Here's an idea: our SleepIQ® technology shows that the best week night of sleep is Tuesday. So, let's move the Daylight Saving Time change to a night when we are sleeping the best!

Bonus: Your weekend remains intact. And who doesn't want that? Losing an hour mid-week seems infinitely preferable to losing a precious Sunday, weekend hour!

There are probably strong social, economic, and logistical arguments against this (e.g., like school start times -- we'll leave that for another day) but from a sleep, health and wellness standpoint, it is worth investigating!

Sleep (on it) well; and join the movement on social media to #MakeitTuesday!

Just like diet and exercise, sleep is important for your optimal health -- especially to start your work week off right. Sleep Number® beds adjust on each side to your ideal level of firmness, comfort and support to ensure you're well-rested enough to fight germs that could be making you sick this season.

Go To Homepage