Do you travel often? Have you ever wondered why a long flight can make you feel terrible? This condition generally occurs when traveling in the west-east direction and is known as “jet lag.”
The severity of jet lag is affected by the direction of travel. There seems to be evidence that for most people traveling west to east is more disruptive because they are flying against time zones and therefore are losing time. The greater the number of time zones crossed, the more difficult it is for your body to cope with changes.
Causes of Symptoms
Jet Lag is believed to be caused by disorders of homeostasis – the body’s ability to maintain constant internal parameters (including body temperature, blood pH, osmotic pressure, blood pressure, volume of body fluids, etc.). In short, our body can not keep up with adapting to the rapidly changing times of day, on which our physiology depends (metabolism, sleep-wake cycles, etc.). When we travel westward, we have trouble getting to sleep because the body is not ready to release sleep hormones – cortisol and melatonin.
Symptoms of jet lag
- Sleep disturbance
- Impaired concentration
- Extreme fatigue
- Lack of appetite and digestive problems
Tips for surviving the journey
After a few days in a new time zone, our bodies adjust, resolving the symptoms. You can use the following techniques to help reset you body’s clock:
- Start varying your schedule before you travel
- Get plenty of rest before leaving and while you are traveling
- Eliminate consumption of alcohol and caffeine before and during your travel
- Eat light meals
- A helpful way to minimize jet lag is to adapt to the local time and eat accordingly.
- Also, exposure to sunlight during the day can be helpful.
-- Important: The Sleep Blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Instead, this website provides general information for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider if you have questions or concerns regarding any medical condition or treatment.