As much as it is very enjoyable, sometimes traveling has some side effects. One of such side effects of traveling is a phenomenon called jet lag. Jet lag is a phenomenon very common for travelers from across different time zones; traveling from the USA to Eritrea or to Europe is not an exception. This article, courtesy of Global-Discount-Travel.com, explains the meaning and symptoms of jet lag. Then it discusses the commonality, and possible solutions.
What is it and what is the Cause
Jet lag is a physiological (not psychological) phenomenon common in people who travel across places of different time zones. It could also be a result of change of shift work, or convention of advancing clocks. It’s effect may be aggravateed by environmental factors.
One may wonder what causes jet lag; it is caused when the body clock goes out of synch because of change in the origin and destination time zones (circumstances). That means, ones expectation of darkness and light is disturbed and becomes contrary to what the body is used to. The rhythms dictating the time we eat and sleep differ with the destination condition or environment. In such circumstances, the body lacks immediate capability of realigning to the new rhyzmes, thus a jet lag is caused. It is important to note that jet lag is not that common if only one time zone is crossed. In general, the more time zones are crossed the sevier the effect.
Not only change in time zone, jet lag is also caused because flying high means high ozone content, low humidity, and constant presurization of the cabin has a draining effect. Further, drinking alcohol and overeating increases the effect of jet lag.
As the effect of jet lag varies from person to person, the symptoms are quite varied. Generally though, dehaydration, loss of appetite, headaches or sinus irritation, fatigue, disorientation or groggines, nausea and/or upset stomach, insomia and/or irregular sleep paterns, irritability, irrationality, and mild depression are the most common symptoms.
Some people confuse jet lag with length of flight. But jet lag and length of flight are not related. One may travel long hours and experience no jet lag, where as another person may travel short hours but experience jet lag. For example, travelling from Pretoria to Frankfurt which takes about 10 hour while staying on the same meridian (same time zone), is less inducive of jet lag than a five-hour flight between New York and Los Angeles (going west) or a flight from Washington DC to Asmara (going East) because of the difference in time zone.
Just like a change does not affect everybody similarly, the experience of jet lag varies among individuals. The speed at which the body readjusts itself to new daylight/darkness hours and eating/sleeping patterns is entirely dependent upon the individual. Thus, while it may take a few days for some people to readjust to a new time zone, others seem to experience little disruption to their body's natural sleeping patterns.
Some factors do nevertheless affect the severity of jet lag. For example, age; jet lag affects younger people much more than older ones. Gender also plays a role; females tend to be more vulnerable to jet lag than males. Location is also a factor; jet lag is more sever near the north and south poles where there are extreme periods of daylight or darkness, depending on the time of year. Besides, travel direction impacts on the severity of the effect of jet lag; travelling west to east is more disruptive.
Jet lag may last a day or more; the worst effect is actually felt on the second and third days. To get a rapid recovery, a number of solutions are recommended. Holding the excitement and/or avoiding hectic schedule immediately after arrival, and taking a good sleep immediately after arrival and while traveling are highly recommended. Relaxation, moderate exercise (in a seat or walking around the plane), and sensible diet are other recommended practices. Drinking more non alcoholic fluids is also highly suggested to lower the effect of jet lag. Further, the effect of jet lag can be minimized by adjusting eating and sleeping schedules to the destination time zone some days before departure.
Most importantly, passangers should come to the departure airport ahead of time as rushing around the day of departure worsens the effect of jet lag. It is said that a day recovery time for a single change of time zone could be taken as a fair recovery rate.
So much about do’s. Some people take some medication to minimize the effect of jet lag. Please do not use sleeping pills, travel-sickness medicines, and other drugs as they aggravate jet lag.
Global Discount Travel and Jet Lag
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