More Jet Lag


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Published: June 9th 2020
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The technical term for jet lag: Whether you call it desynchronosis, time zone change syndrome, or simply jet lag, one thing that everyone can agree on is that it's a challenge when you travel. People can experience jet lag when sleep patterns are interrupted, as when they're traveling through time zones, but also as a result of shift-based work and sleeping disorders. Human bodies are naturally attuned to a 24-hour cycle and depend on consistency in order to regulate hormone levels, body temperature, and REM sleep. When that doesn't happen, people may experience physical fatigue, headaches, poor appetite, stomach pains, and even depression. To minimize the effects, try slowly adjusting to your new sleep schedule before your trip, staying hydrated, and avoiding stimulants and alcohol.<br style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased;" />A few things I have experienced. I find less jet lag when I follow the sun. My jet lag recovery time has increased with older age. Alcohol does not bother me. Bad fellow passengers make jet lag worse!!!<br style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased;" />Every person, travel expert, and medical "expert" have offered cures or treatments for jet lag. The only solution I have found is to get as much sleep on the flight, which usually means an upgrade to Biz or First. But it can get expensive! The way I look at it, better to spend the money on the flight, and not waste any days at my destination!<br style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased;" />Mayo Clinic lists these as symptoms of jet lag:<br style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased;" />
Symptoms of jet lag can vary. You may experience only one symptom or you may have many. Jet lag symptoms may include:
<ul style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 36px; padding: 0px 0px 24px; color:𛈇 font-size: 16px;"><li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">Disturbed sleep — such as insomnia, early waking or excessive sleepiness (maybe you are disturbed?)<li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">Daytime fatigue<li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">Difficulty concentrating or functioning at your usual level<li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">Stomach problems, constipation or diarrhea (some people advocate evacuation prior to flights)<li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">A general feeling of not being well<li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">Mood changes (I call it irritability)

Mayo goes on further by saying:
A key influence on your internal clock is sunlight. That's because light influences the regulation of melatonin, a hormone that helps synchronize cells throughout the body.

Certain cells in the tissue at the back of your eye (retina) transmit the light signals to an area of your brain called the hypothalamus.

At night, when the light signal is low, the hypothalamus tells the pineal gland, a small organ situated in the brain, to release melatonin. During daylight hours, the opposite occurs, and the pineal gland produces very little melatonin.

You may be able to ease your adjustment to your new time zone by exposing yourself to daylight in the new time zone so long as the timing of light is done properly.
I have tried melatonin supplements, and they do not help me!<br style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased;" />Mayo on prevention:<br style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased;" />
A few basic steps may help prevent jet lag or reduce its effects:
<ul style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 36px; padding: 0px 0px 24px; color:𛈇 font-size: 16px;"><li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">Arrive early. If you have an important meeting or other event that requires you to be in top form, try to arrive a few days early to give your body a chance to adjust.<li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">Get plenty of rest before your trip. Starting out sleep-deprived makes jet lag worse.<li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">Gradually adjust your schedule before you leave. If you're traveling east, try going to bed one hour earlier each night for a few days before your departure. Go to bed one hour later for several nights if you're flying west. If possible, eat meals closer to the time you'll be eating them at your destination.<li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">
Regulate bright light exposure. Because light exposure is one of the prime influences on your body's circadian rhythm, regulating light exposure may help you adjust to your new location.

In general, exposure to light in the evening helps you adjust to a later than usual time zone (traveling westward), while exposure to morning light can help you adapt to an earlier time zone faster (traveling eastward).

The one exception is if you have traveled more than eight time zones from your original time zone, because your body might mistake early morning light for evening dusk. Your body might also mistake evening light for early morning light.

So, if you've traveled more than eight time zones to the east, wear sunglasses and avoid bright light in the morning, and then allow as much sunlight as possible in the late afternoon for the first few days in your new location.

If you have traveled west by more than eight time zones, avoid sunlight a few hours before dark for the first few days to adjust to the local time.
<li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">Stay on your new schedule. Set your watch to the new time before you leave. Once you reach your destination, try not to sleep until the local nighttime, no matter how tired you are. Try to time your meals with local mealtimes too.<li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight to counteract the dehydrating effects of dry cabin air. Dehydration can make jet lag symptoms worse. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these can dehydrate you and affect your sleep.<li style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; margin-bottom: 12px; line-height: 1.4em;">Try to sleep on the plane if it's nighttime at your destination. Earplugs, headphones and eye masks can help block out noise and light. If it's daytime where you're going, resist the urge to sleep.

I have tried everything. I just go with it now, and keep my first evening and next day's itinerary easy and relaxing. If you have a secret, please share it.

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