Jet Lag: Everything You Need To Know

You might have heard of the term ‘jet lag’ when someone talks about travelling. Jet lag refers to sleep deprivation that occurs after crossing two or more time zones. The world we live in is divided into 24 different time zones, and your sleep cycles are based on the time zone of the country in which you reside. The schedules of these sleep cycles are tested when you travel to other countries or only through one in the cases of countries like France, the UK, Russia, the USA, Australia, etcetera. 

Due to a sudden disruption in your body’s circadian sleep patterns and internal clock, jet lag makes you feel out of sorts. Jet lag can disrupt your sleep and trigger other unpleasant symptoms that last for days following your journey. It gets especially tough when you are travelling long distances. Here’s everything you need to know about jet lag. 

What Is Jet Lag?

A sleep-wake disorder caused by a misalignment of your 24 hr internal clock, jet lag occurs when you travel east or west over two or even more time zones. A person’s circadian cycle typically aligns with daylight, enabling alertness throughout the day and sleep at night. This internal clock synchronises with the 24 hr day to promote physical and mental wellness. Dawn and dusk occur at various times in different regions, so a person’s geographic location influences their sleep cycle.

What Are The Symptoms Of Jet Lag?

People suffering from jet lag will exhibit a few of the problems mentioned below. Symptoms may appear immediately or a few days following the arrival. Many individuals sleep well their first night after the flight, only to get jet lag the next day.

– Sleep issues 

Jet lag typically causes drowsiness or fatigue during the day. As a result, it may be challenging to sleep when you’d like to, or you could awaken sooner than usual. Jet lag also induces sleep disturbance. In rare cases, jet lag can disrupt sleep architecture, raising the likelihood of night terrors and sleep paralysis.

– Health Issues

Your body may feel fatigued, and optimum physical performance may suffer. Jet lag can cause gastrointestinal issues such as decreased appetite, nausea, and constipation. You may also have focus or memory problems or feel like your thought process is sluggish. Some people experience irritability as a result of jet lag. Jet lag can cause malaise, which is defined as a general sensation of discomfort, sickness, or unease.

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How To Treat Jet Lag?

A cure for jet lag is yet to be discovered, but usually, a lot of the symptoms can get treated, and there’s a good chance that without treatment, your symptoms are likely to get resolved in a few days. Here are a few things to keep in mind after a long flight:

– Water and food

After a long journey, drinking lots of water will help you avoid dehydration. If you have concerns about safe drinking water, go for bottled water. Mind what you are putting in your body. Avoid alcohol and caffeine; these beverages can dehydrate you. For a day or two, eating foods your body can easily digest will help alleviate any gastrointestinal issues of jet lag.

– Sun

Getting outside during the day might help to boost alertness. Light signals your body that it is time to wake up. The impact on circadian rhythm is determined by the amount and time of light exposure. Sunlight provides the most lighting and has the most potent circadian effect. If you can’t get outside, artificial light sources like a lamp can provide similar benefits, to a lesser extent.

Sleep

Sleeping on an aircraft can help your body acclimate to a different time zone more quickly. However, you should talk to your doctor about the advantages and hazards of over-the-counter sleep medications like melatonin. Discuss your requirements with your doctor. When it comes to the treatment of jet lag, prescription-strength sleeping medications may have more drawbacks than advantages.

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A standard problem, jet lag happens as your body adapts to a new time zone and sleep-wake cycle. As a result, you may experience minor to significant sleep problems or other symptoms. When travelling, it is probably best not to experience any jet lag symptoms. Still, conditioning your body for predicted routine changes and maintaining informed choices on your vacation will help reduce the impact of jet lag.