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Jetlag

or desynchronosis

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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 immediately.

This results in a disparity between the external and internal rhythms. 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:

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 traveling West.

Tips to lessen the effect of jetlag

  • Set 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.
  • Force 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 actually is.
  • Outdoor activity or exposure to bright light will help the biological clock adjust faster.

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