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3 min read

the risk of social jetlag and impact on learning

written by Natalie Costa

updated 24.08.2022

what is social jet lag?

Jet lag is where your internal body clock doesn’t fit with the external world time. This is often felt when we travel across multiple different time zones too quickly. This leaves you feeling very tired, and you can often find it difficult to fall asleep and wake up at the correct times. Read more about jetlag in this article.

social jet lag

Social jet lag leaves you feeling the same way as normal jet lag but can happen on a weekly basis. Often, we stick to our routines:

Monday – Wednesday, going to bed at a reasonable time and getting up at your normal time.

Thursday, as it’s nearly the weekend you may find you stay up a little later, which cuts your overall sleep shorter, leaving you feeling tired, cannot concentrate, struggle to retain or learn new information the following day (Friday).

Friday, it’s the start of the weekend so we stay up late, get up later and all routine is out of the window. This tends to be the same on Saturday and going into Sunday.

Sunday night comes round, and we are then expected to go to bed earlier and go straight to sleep. Our bodies do not understand what is going and don’t understand that it is time to go to sleep, leaving you feeling as though your internal body clock is not in time with the external world, just like normal jet lag but caused by social situations.

how does social jet lag impact teaching?

It means that a lack of sleep on the Sunday night leads to very sleepy children on a Monday morning. These students may struggle to concentrate and retain information. Subjects that involve a lot of concentration or learning new material should be avoided on a Monday morning as tired children will not retain this information.

Maintaining a stable routine throughout the week, including weekends will help both adults and children to stay in sync with the world, avoiding social jet lag and making Monday mornings less of a struggle.

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