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Do you love to stay up late and then catch up on sleep on the weekend or a day off? If so, you could be committing a social faux pas – when it comes to your sleep that is.
Called “social jet lag” by sleep scientists, it’s the delay in your body’s natural sleep clock that occurs when you stay up late on Friday and Saturday nights to socialize and then sleep in to catch up.
“Just like the way traveling from New York to Los Angeles can sometimes wreak havoc on your circadian rhythm (your body’s natural clock), so too can staying up late at the end of a stressful work week and sleeping in on weekends,” said sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
“By staying up late on Friday and Saturday nights and sleeping in both days afterward, you’re essentially forcing your body into a different time zone,” Dasgupta said. “This pattern of sleeping puts you at risk for the effects of chronic sleep deprivation, which can put you at increased risk for medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.”
You can further disrupt your sleep rhythm and add to your sleep debt by also staying up later during the workweek. Some of us can’t help it. If you instinctively prefer to go to bed later and wake up later, you may be a “night owl.”
It’s possible that night owls are genetically predisposed to late nights due to a gene called CRY1, experts say. A recent study found a variance in CRY1 in people with delayed sleep phase disorder, or DSPD, a disorder in which people stay up extreme