Mondays are notoriously tough days. From Jim Davis’ Garfield comic strip where the iconic cat will not come out from under his covers to every sitcom on the planet, the woes of starting the work week have been well documented. And the same is true for many traders – many find that Monday is their worst day.
Well, science may have an answer.
For people who find that they are tired and listless on Monday morning, there’s a good chance that the condition is self-inflicted – and that’s actually good news. Why? Because it means that the condition is fixable!
Those who have a tough time getting going on Mondays may be suffering from a phenomenon that sleep scientist have recently identified as “social jet lag”.
The term was coined by researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany in 2006 to define a mental and psychological let-down that occurs when your weekend sleep pattern differs from that of your work week.
Articles from the National Institute of Health, The Smithsonian, The New York Times, and numerous information websites have chronicled the increasing acceptance of this new insight as the cause for the Monday blahs.
Let’s spend just a moment to understand this phenomenon and then look at some things anyone can do to overcome social jet lag.
Like Changing Time Zones
Social jet lag is simply a change in sleep patterns that typically occur when our weekend sleep schedule differs from that of our work week.
Say you usually sleep from 10 pm to 6 am on weekdays but on weekends you stay up to 1 am and sleep in until 11 am. That shift is basically like traveling to someplace three time zones away for two days and then coming back. Your body feels a similar effect to taking such a trip, hence the link to the “jet lag” name.
Sleep researchers have discovered that the times that you sleep can be as important as how much you sleep. So even those getting the recommended seven to eight hours a night still might find that they feel bad if they’re getting that sleep at different times throughout the week.
Researchers are also finding that social jet lag may be responsible for more than just feeling sleepy on Monday mornings. In a study published in Current Biology in 2012, a research team found that weekend to weekday social jetlag was correlated to increased body mass index (BMI). Interrupting our circadian clock also throws off our energy homeostasis – and this disruption may contribute to weight-related pathologies. In plain English – throwing off our bodies sleep patterns can lead to less efficient energy burning and subsequent weight gain.
While this is an epidemiological study (study of patterns leading to cause and effect in a specific population rather than a clinical study), clinical sleep studies in animals are starting to bring additional supporting evidence.
What to Do to Combat the Monday “Blahs”
To get your Monday trading and investing chops up to full strength, here’s a compilation of well-referenced suggestions on how to defeat social jet lag:
1) Get more sleep during the week. If you’re under-sleeping during the week, you’re probably trying to catch up on weekends. But catching up by sleeping in on weekends just sets you up for feeling terrible on Monday mornings.
2) Wake up earlier on the weekends. It sounds painful, but try it out for one weekend and then see how you feel on Monday.
(You can think of #1 and #2 combined as essentially shifting your sleep hours from one part of your week to another. You shift your precious time rather than “losing” any of it.)
3) Be smart about naps. If you find you need a nap on Saturday or Sunday, do it between noon and 4 pm for 25 minutes or less, which will be less likely to interfere with your sleep at night. That’s according to Bernie Miller, supervisor at the Sleep Disorders Center at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, via Popular Science.
4) Get sunlight on Monday. If you are tired on Monday morning, get outside and get some sunlight. Remember, your circadian rhythm is set by your eyes’ exposure to light, which sends signals directly to your brain to wake up. Even a cloudy day outdoors can be several times brighter than the average office space (which is often on the darker side to accommodate computer screens).
5) If all else fails, get some blue light. If you absolutely can’t get outside or you have been plagued with a work schedule that requires you to get up before the sun rises, then crank up those light bulbs indoors. Because the circadian rhythm is specifically responsive to blue light, you also might consider getting a lamp or light bulb that shines blue-ish light. Several companies sell special lighting apparatus for just these kinds of purposes.
I have written about various practices you can use to stay mentally sharp for your trading and investing activities. A supportive sleep pattern all week long for your trading endeavors may be one good trading edge but it can also serve as an important piece of your overall health and well-being puzzle.
As you know, we spend quite a lot of time here at 10-Minute Millionaire talking about how to get into the “Millionaire Mindset” — and there’s a good reason for that. Mindset is a huge piece of the exciting new income project I’m working on — in fact, it’s so crucial that along with the new monthly income opportunities I’m preparing, I’m also rolling out a weekly podcast where we discuss practical ways to think like a millionaire. I say “we” because it won’t just be me — I’ll have some very special guests as well.
But more on that later. We’re getting very close on this project, and I think when you see all the pieces, you’ll be as excited as I am.
Great trading and God bless you,
D. R. Barton, Jr.