How Staying Up Late Can Leave You Jet-Lagged

How Staying Up Late Can Leave You Jet-Lagged

You know that feeling...

A birthday party or social event where you stay up until 1:30am, a bachelor's party that runs through most of the night, or your newborn baby keeping you awake and restless.

Maybe you're lucky that it's the weekend so that you can sleep in. Or maybe you're not so lucky, and your alarm clock goes off at 6:30am as always.

You're feeling like crap during the day, but that must be because you had a few too many glasses of booze during the party right?

Or maybe not...

In fact, altering your circadian rhythm because you're stayed up late can have the same effects as travelling half-way around the world and experiencing jet-lag.

Are we crazy for making that claim?

Absolutely not.

Let us educate you about the basics of jet-lag:

How staying up late can give you jet-lag

So why do you get jet-lag in the first place?

Simple:

Your brain actually has a clock that keeps the time of the day.

When the light from your environment enters your eyes, it sets the time on your brain's clock. In fact, the first moment light enters your eyes after waking up your brain gets a signal that it's morning.

If you're watching TV late at night, your brain will still get the signal that it's daytime and that you need to stay awake.

Normally your eyes only get exposed to light during certain hours of the day, such as 8:00am to 8:00pm. Most people will dim or remove light from their environment when its time to fall sleep.

Your brain is very well habituated to this pattern of light exposure. In other words, the clock in your brain has been trained to certain periods in which there is light (and your clock then knows it's daytime).

Alternatively, the clock knows it's nighttime when there's a compete absence of light.

Sometimes, however, you'll be exposed to lots of light at very irregular times - and your brain does not expect that timing.

Remember the birthday, bachelor party, or crying baby? During these moments you will be exposed to a lot of artificial light at night. In turn, your brain thinks it's daytime and it's clock resets to the morning time.

So what's the consequence? 

Why jet-lag ruins your sleep quality, energy levels, and mood

You might not know that the clock in your brain actually times almost all processes in your body. The clock and all the biological processes of that clock are called the circadian rhythm.

Under regular circumstances, your circadian rhythm makes sure that:

  • stress hormones are created at 4:00am, to get you ready for the day.
  • blood pressure should rise around 7:00am for starting your body up even further. Your body temperature also increases around that time.
  • certain hormones are typically created at 10:00am that are necessary for your health.

And then around nighttime, between 8:00pm and midnight:

  • a hormone called melatonin is produced, this helps you sleep longer and deeper.
  • energy levels are decreased, your gut stops digesting food, and your body gets ready for sleep.

Your body's clock is like a coach from a football team. The coach leads and tells all of its athletes when they should attack and when they should defend. You can imagine that the outcome of football matches are devastating when the coach gives the wrong orders as the wrong times.

The same happens in your brain when you're exposed to light at the wrong times of the day: bright light at night - especially blue light - tells your brain it's daytime. Your clock resets to daytime, and the timing of all the processes in your body is destroyed.

Result?

JET LAG! even though you have maybe never travelled to the other side of the world.

So what's the solution?

Blue light blocking glasses can reduce the negative effects of staying up late.

Your circadian rhythm loves regularity and routine. The more stable your body's 24-hour day and night clock runs, without major resets, the better all of the processes in your body will do.

Wearing blue light blocking glasses  prevents harmful blue light from entering your eyes after sunset.

As a result, your circadian rhythm will experience much more stability in its light exposure pattern.

Don't get us wrong, staying up late will still cause some damage to your health because your entire sleeping pattern is thrown off. Phrased differently, normally you might sleep from 10:00pm to 6:00am, but on a night out, you might sleep from 3:00am until 11:00am.

However the clock in your brain still experiences its light input through your eyes as stable, because you'd still follow the light exposure pattern of the sun.

The bottom line is this: by reducing jet-lag when you stay up late at night, you can maintain both a social life and have great health.

Will wearing blue light blocking glasses look a bit weird when you're going out?

This is why we have created our premium style frames which make a great fashion statement and can be a interesting talking point amongst friends!

The most important insight, however, is that your body will thank you later. You'll have much better sleep quality that same night, and as a result, you'll have much more energy and a better mood the next day...

While still keeping your social life.

 

 

References:

[1] Wittmann M, Dinich J, Merrow M, Roenneberg T. Social jetlag: misalignment of biological and social time. Chronobiol Int. 2006;23(1-2):497-509.

[2] Jankowski KS. Social jet lag: Sleep-corrected formula. Chronobiol Int. 2017;34(4):531-535. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2017.1299162. Epub 2017 Mar 20.

 



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