Social Jet Lag and College Students
When you think of college students, you probably think of erratic and ever-changing schedules between classes, jobs, and social activities. The inconsistent patterns of life college students generally live in creates a phenomena called social jet lag. Social jet lag is when an individual wakes up around the same time during the week but then stays up late and wakes up late over the weekends. This creates a jet lag effect because it throws that individual's circadian rhythms out of wack, like we learned at Dr. Cavanaugh's presentation. A circadian rhythm is an integral clock we all have that controls things like sleep and wake patterns, body temperature, and hormone release to name a few. Circadian rhythms are controlled by environmental cues, like light and dark periods. We also learned in class that a lot of college students were putting themselves through this type of social jet lag every weekend.
The New York Times article An Underappreciated Key to College Success: Sleep discusses the impact of social jet lag on college students as well as how to avoid social jet lag. We learned in class that average GPA declined with evidence of social jet lag, but this article states that "one in three or four students fail to graduate, [and] if their sleep were improved, their likelihood of graduating would too." A proven decline in GPA and inability to graduate on time show that social jet lag is becoming an issue, and the article even goes as far as to call it a "major public health crisis." There are many ways to avoid social jet lag the article states, such as going to bed and waking up at similar times every day, avoiding caffeine before going to bed, and keeping electronics out of the bedroom. Although these are hard for college students to do with said erratic schedules, it think majority would be willing to change their lifestyles in order to achieve better grades and a higher probability of graduating on time.
Brody, Jane E. “An Underappreciated Key to College Success: Sleep.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 Aug. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/well/an-underappreciated-key-to-college-success-sleep.html.