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TGIF…Maybe Not For Your Sleep? The Link Between Social Jetlag and Rising BMI: Unveiling Insights from SleepScore’s Sleep Measurement App

By: SleepScore Labs  |  October 5th, 2023

In recent times, the hustle and bustle of modern life have led to a phenomenon known as social jetlag. This occurs when there’s a mismatch between our body’s internal clock and the social clock, often reflected in altered sleep patterns during weekends compared to weekdays. The repercussions of social jetlag extend beyond mere fatigue, potentially playing a significant role in escalating Body Mass Index (BMI) among individuals. A recent population-based study, leveraging SleepScore’s contactless sleep measurement app, delves deeper into this intriguing correlation.


Unpacking Social Jetlag 

Social jetlag manifests when there’s a discrepancy in bed and wake times during weekends relative to weekdays. This misalignment disrupts the circadian rhythm, induces sleep disturbances, and often leads to shortened sleep durations. The ripple effect of these changes can adversely impact human health and performance. One notable consequence is an elevated BMI, a concern particularly observed among shift workers who experience habitual short sleep and circadian disruption. 


Traditionally, understanding the relationship between social jetlag and BMI has been a challenge. Most studies either rely on self-reported sleep patterns, which can be inaccurate, or employ worn devices for short-term sleep measurement. However, a novel approach has emerged through the utilization of the PSG-validated, sonar-based SleepScore mobile application. This app facilitates longitudinal and ecologically valid assessments of sleep in the comfort of one’s home, providing a more ecologically-valid picture of social jetlag’s impact on BMI. 


The Analysis at a Glance 

 The analysis encompassed 357 individuals, spanning across 130,120 nights, who monitored their sleep using the SleepScore mobile application. The age range of participants was broad, from 18 to 87, with a balanced gender distribution. Social jetlag was quantified by comparing the mean objective sleep midpoint on weekdays to that on weekends. Participants also self-reported their BMI, calculated as kg/m^2, and assessed their chronotype (whether they were strong early or morning types, or somewhere in between) through a 5-item questionnaire.


Unveiling the Connection 

The findings were illuminating. The mean social jetlag observed was 26.6 minutes, with a linear regression analysis unveiling a significant association between social jetlag and BMI. After adjusting for age, gender, and chronotype, it was revealed that for every one-minute increase in social jetlag, there was a 0.025 kg/m^2 increase in BMI. To put it in perspective, a social jetlag of 60 minutes could potentially escalate BMI by 1.5 kg/m^2. 


A Step Towards Better Understanding  

This study, conducted in a real-world setting, underscores a positive correlation between social jetlag and BMI. The use of a sonar-based contactless consumer sleep technology has paved the way for a more authentic understanding of how social jetlag could be a potential risk factor for increased BMI. This aligns with previous findings that highlighted the detrimental effects of social jetlag on human health and metabolism. 

 The longitudinal and ecologically valid nature of the sleep measurement employed in this study amplifies the analysis’ findings. It’s a significant stride towards comprehending the broader implications of social jetlag, thereby emphasizing the importance of maintaining consistent sleep patterns for a healthier lifestyle. 


Embracing Healthier Sleep Habits  

The insights derived from this study are not just academically enriching but also practically enlightening. They beckon a call to action for individuals to foster healthier sleep habits, which could, in turn, contribute to overall improved health. The SleepScore mobile application serves as a beacon of innovation in this realm, offering a convenient and accurate means to monitor and understand one’s sleep, thus empowering individuals to take proactive steps towards a healthier, more balanced life. 

 The journey towards unraveling the myriad ways in which social jetlag impacts our lives has just begun. With the advent of sophisticated sleep measurement technologies, we are now better equipped to explore, understand, and mitigate the challenges posed by social jetlag in our quest for a healthier life.


For more information about SleepScore Labs and the detailed findings of this analysis, visit the abstract link here.

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