jet lag

Jet lag is a temporary condition that occurs when you travel across different time zones quickly. Changing time zones rapidly causes the person’s internal biological clock to be out of sync with the external environment.  Our our bodies operate under a 24-hour cycle called circadian rhythms.” These rhythms are measured by a very specific rise and fall of body temperature, plasma levels of certain hormones and energy levels.

When we travel across different time zones, our circadian rhythms do not adjust quickly and remain on their original biological schedule for several days. This results in our bodies telling us it is time to sleep when it is not time to sleep.

Jet lag is also called desynchronosis.

How long can jet lag last?

It can last for a few days or a few weeks.

Melatonin for jet lag?

Melatonin is a hormone and is the internal sleep facilitator in humans. Melatonin is naturally produced by the pineal gland, a cone-shaped structure in the brain. Melatonin supplements have not been proven to increase total time or quality of sleep and the effects of long-term use are unknown.

Symptoms

Some common symptoms of jet lag are:

  • Difficulty maintaining the usual sleep-wake pattern in the new destination.
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach aches
  • Dizziness

Tips to Prevent Jet Lag

  • Maintain a sensible bedtime schedule prior to your trip. Don’t avoid sleeping in order to make yourself tired.
  • Go to bed earlier for a couple of nights before leaving if you are traveling east. Go to bed later for a couple of nights if you are traveling west.
  • For short trips, maintain a schedule of eating and sleeping at your usual time, if possible, while at your destination.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • If you exercise regularly, continue to do so at your destination.
  • Avoid exercising late in the evening because it can keep you awake.
  • For important events or meetings at your destination, try to arrive in advance to have time to adjust to the time difference.

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