This Thrive Thought was inspired by a guest that we had on our Five to Thrive Live radio show, Dr. John Neustadt. Dr. Neustadt shared with some fascinating information about a Fitbit sleep study and now we’d like to share it with you.
Fitbit analyzed six billion nights of sleep (yes, that’s billion!) from their users. What’s the single most important thing that users did to get consistent sound sleep? The Fitbit analysis showed that the most important thing you can do to get a great night’s sleep, night after night, is to go to bed and wake up around the same time every single day, including the weekends. Why the weekends? Because that helps us avoid “social jet lag.” We all know that jet lag is the inability to sleep while traveling but what’s social jet lag? If you go to bed around the same time and wake up at around the same time Monday – Friday but stay up late and sleep in on the weekends, you have social jet lag. Your body doesn’t have the opportunity to find that consistent sleep rhythm. According to Dr. Neustadt, we need to train our body so it can get the sound sleep we need on a consistent basis. And one way—the best way according to the Fitbit study—is to go to bed at about the same time and wake up at about the same time every single day.
So, if you consistently need to be up at 6 am for work or school and want to get eight hours of sleep (which is the amount most of us need), you’ll need to go to bed by 10 pm at the latest. If you stay up until 11, you already have a sleep deficit. And it’s just not possible (or helpful) to try to make up that deficit on the weekend. In fact, preliminary research shows that social jet lag in particular is associated with poor health and mood issues. Research from the community-based Sleep and Healthy Activity, Diet, Environment, and Socialization (SHADES) study found that each hour of social jet lag was associated with an 11 percent increase in heart disease risk.
We’ve been making this sleep recommendation for years but even we didn’t realize just how important it is. Thanks Fitbit!
Dr. Neustadt shared some interesting insights about diet, lifestyle, and effective sleep supplements. To listen to the entire show, click here.
Hudman R. Four Questions: How ‘Social Jet Lag’ Impacts Health. UANews (The University of Arizona). June 21, 2017.
Pogue D. Exclusive: What Fitbit’s 6 billion nights of sleep data reveals about us. Yahoo Finance. January 4, 2018.
Wittmann M, Dinich J, Merrow M, Roenneberg T. Social Jetlag: Misalignment of Biological and Social Time. Chronobiology International. 2006;23(1-2).