Tired? Probably. You can’t help but be yawny, especially during the workweek. That’s because the dictates of modern society rarely allow you to live in synchronicity with your individual body clock, which is just one of three that we’re constantly trying to balance. The others are the sun clock (daylight and darkness send us signals) and the social clock (that thing hanging on the wall or on your wrist).
For most of us, the social clock is boss. But when it requires us to live out of sync with our body clocks, we suffer from what chronobiologist Till Roenneberg calls “social jet lag.” Social jet lag can be just as powerful as the more familiar jet lag caused by traversing time zones, and because it’s a function of our daily lives it can be a chronic condition. And, as Roenneberg explains in the excellent video posted below, social jet lag has consequences:
Most people with social jet lag are more likely to be smokers. They are more likely to drink alcohol. And people with social jet lag drink a lot of caffeine during the day. And now we’ve discovered another consequence of living against the body clock, and that is if you are already a little chubby and not very thin, it is very likely that living against the body clock makes you even become obese. In view of all these consequences, it is really high time we do something against social jet lag.
Roenneberg and his colleagues have built an online body clock calculator to aid them in their research and to help you understand your own internal time, so head over to the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire to receive an evaluation of your chronotype. And then check out Roennenberg’s Internal Time for 24 short case stories meant to help you understand why you’re so tired.