Sigma Xi Publications



American Scientist

Social Jet Leg: How the clash between biological clocks and modern lifestyle harms public health

Technology has extended the times of day when people can be active and has allowed for connectivity at any time of day. A growing body of research shows that the biological clock is affected by light exposure, especially at certain times of day, which in turn can affect all sorts of biological processes necessary for health, including sleep, focus, and metabolism. More people seem to be experiencing social jet lag, when our body rhythms are out of sync with the day-night cycle. This lack of synchrony can have serious public health consequences; for example, it has been linked to sleep disorders, obesity, and mental disorders. In “Adapting Your Body Clock to a 24-Hour Society” (pages 348–355), circadian biologists Alexis Webb and Erik Herzog explain how the biological clock sets and keeps time, and what solutions are under study to help people sync up with healthy daily routines for sleeping and eating. (Cover illustration by Michael Morgenstern.)

November–December 2017

Sigma Xi Publications