Jet Lag Syndrome

Wed, Jun 24, 2009

Jet LagSleep Disorders

What is it? Jet lag is also called desynchronosis. It is a short-term disorder that causes, insomnia, fatigue and other symptoms as a result of travel by plane across time zones.

Symptoms of jet lag. Besides insomnia and fatigue a jet lag victims may experience constipation, anxiety, diarrhea, dehydration, headache, confusion, irritability, nausea, coordination problems, sweating, and even memory loss. It has been reported of other additional symptoms, such as irregularities in heartbeat and increased vulnerability to deceases.

What is a time zone? A time zone is a region, which maintains one hour time period everywhere within it.

  • There are 24 time zones in the world, one for each hour in the day.
  • Each zone runs from North to South along Earth meridians that are approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) wide.
  • Sometimes the actual width of each zone varies with geographical and political restrictions.
  • As the Earth rotates on its 24-hour schedule, sunrise occurs at a exact hour in one time zone, an hour later in the time zone immediately to the West, and so on through the 24-hour cycle.
  • Thus, in the USA when it is 5 a.m. in the Eastern Time Zone, it is 4 a.m. in the Central Time Zone, 3 a.m. in the Mountain Time Zone, and 2 a.m. in the Pacific Time Zone.sleep schedule

How jet lag occurs? The main reason for jet lag occurrence is failure of an air passenger to quickly adjust to the time in a different zone.

  • Thus, when someone who lives in San Francisco arrives in Rome at midnight Rome time, his or her body is still functioning on San Francisco time.
  • That is why the body fights with the new and temporary sleep problems, such as fatigue, insomnia, irritability, sleep deprivation, lack of dreams, and even impaired ability to maintain to concentrate may occur.
  • Another real problem is a changed in bathroom schedule causing constipation or even diarrhea.
  • If that happens, the brain may get confused and also disoriented by attempting to maintain the old schedules.

How does the body keep time? As it described in the previous article Circadian Rhytms a small part of our brain, called the hypothalamus, behave as an alarm clock.

  • Its main function is to activate various functions of our body, such as: thirst, hunger, and sleep. It provides  many other very critical regulations of blood pressure, temperature, and the amount of hormones, as well as level of  glucose in the blood stream.
  • Here is how a “time stamp”  in our brain is functioning:  there are over 100 million receptors in the eye transmitting  perceptions of light and darkness through fibers in the optic nerve assisting our body to tell the time of day by to a timekeeping center within the hypothalamus.
  • Thus, being previously set for a specific timeframe, and when the eyes of the traveler sense dusk or dawn several hours before or after than usual, the hypothalamus may initiate activities that the rest of the body is not expecting yet, and jet lag occurs.

Watch Video: How To Avoid Jet Lag

You don’t have to accept fatigue and sleeplessness as the cost of traveling to distant lands. There are a half a dozen things you can do to lessen the impact of crossing time zones.


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