With today’s flights, the transitions between time zones are
so rapid that the change in the light-dark cycle (cycle of 12 h
light/12 h darkness) is too great for the biological clock to entrain to
This results in a disparity between the external and
While our biological clock is readjusting, the desynchronisation
between the internal rhythms and external environmental rhythms results
in jet lag.
Symptoms of jetlag
The symptoms of jet lag are:
- Dehydration and loss of appetite
- Headaches and/or sinus irritation
- Nausea and/or upset stomach
- Insomnia and/or highly irregular sleep patterns
This out of synch situation causes some disturbances. For
example; our low blood sugar is normally lower at night (inactive
period) but, due to the transition to a new time zone we need to be
active; therefore, we suffer from a feeling of nausea.
The more time zones that are crossed, the more that jetlag effects
worsen. Jetlag is also worse when traveling East rather than when
Tips to lessen the effect of jetlag
aside at the beginning and end of each trip to allow the clock to
adjust (0.75 days are needed per time zone on a westwards flight, while 1
day is needed per time zone on an eastward flight).
- 2-3 days before your departure, try to go to sleep a few hours earlier if you travel eastwards and a few hours later if you travel westwards.
yourself to adjust to the new time zone: after a westward flight try
and stay up as late as possible, thinking in terms of what the time
- Outdoor activity or exposure to bright light will help the biological clock adjust faster.