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Social jetlag in health and behavioral research: a systematic review

Authors Beauvalet JC, Quiles CL, Oliveira MAB, Ilgenfritz CAV, Hidalgo MP, Tonon AC

Received 23 November 2016

Accepted for publication 24 January 2017

Published 8 May 2017 Volume 2017:7 Pages 19—31


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Marc Hébert

Video abstract presented by André Comiran Tonon.

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Juliana Castilhos Beauvalet,1,2 Caroline Luísa Quiles,1,2 Melissa Alves Braga de Oliveira,1,2 Carlos Augusto Vieira Ilgenfritz,1 Maria Paz Loayza Hidalgo,1–3 André Comiran Tonon1

1Laboratório de Cronobiologia e Sono, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA), Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil; 2Postgraduate Program in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical School, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil; 3Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine, Medical School, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

Background: Even though light is considered the main cue that entrains inner biological rhythms according to circadian environmental rhythms, social organizations have the capacity to take the body “out of sync”. An emergent field of research on the topic refers to what has been described as social jetlag, the biological misalignment that arises from alternated work and free days. However, to the present moment, there is still controversial evidence on the effects of such a phenomenon to human health.
Objective: The aim of this study was to identify current peer-reviewed evidence of the health and behavioral risks associated with social jetlag.
Method: We conducted a systematic review of the literature on PubMed, Scopus, Embase and LILACS electronic databases using the terms “social AND (jet lag OR jetlag)”. The search was finalized on August 22, 2016, resulting in 26 research articles included in the review.
Results and discussion: Our results point to a variety of health and behavioral outcomes that seem to be associated with the mismatch existent between work or study days and free days. They are epilepsy, minor psychiatric symptoms, aggression and conduct problems, mood disorders, cognitive impairment (eg, work and academic performance), substance use, cardiometabolic risk and adverse endocrine profiles. However, these results must be analyzed with caution because of the high methodological heterogeneity, the significant risk of bias of analyzed studies, as well as the low similarity among the populations described.

Keywords: chronobiology, biological rhythms, sleep, shift work

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