BACKGROUND: Previous studies have found that approximately 60% of young adults suffer from poor sleep quality. Poor sleep has been associated with higher stress levels and mental illness. Higher stress levels and mental illness have been associated with alterations in the sleep-wake cycle. The term social jet lag refers to the concept of one’s midpoint in sleep changing on weekends relative to weekdays. Social jet lag is directly associated with changes in sleep-wake rhythm. The time of one’s senior year of high school is a transitional time in one’s life as students are preparing to go to college, and this is linked to psychological stressors and behavioral changes such as sleep schedule changes. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of sleep-wake rhythms, social jet lag and changes in perceived stress in high-school seniors. METHODS: This cross-sectional study recruited 84 high school seniors, (69% female), (18±1 years), (body mass index 24±5 kg/m2). Perceived stress was assessed using a 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) during participants' high school senior year. The sleep-wake pattern was assessed using Actigraph GT9X Link accelerometers, worn for 7 consecutive days and a sleep log. Social jet lag was determined by finding the difference between the midpoint of sleep on weekdays compared to weekends and divided into three groups <1h, 1-2h, ≥2h. RESULTS: PSS-10 was not significantly correlated with the change in sleep midpoint, although it was related separately to the average sleep midpoint on weeknights (r=0.28, p=0.012) and on weekends (r= 0.29, p=0.009). In addition, there was no significant difference (p=0.32) observed between PSS-10 and the social jetlag groups (<1h, 1-2h, ≥2h). CONCLUSION: Social jetlag did not influence the difference in perceived stress levels. However, participant stress levels tended to be higher when they go to bed later on both weekdays and weekend days. This does not necessarily imply that going to bed later causes greater stress, as it could be the other way around. Grant Information: Funding for this project was provided by the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number R15HL159650 and through Elon University’s Undergraduate Research Program.

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