Jet Lag Syndrome



Jet lag syndrome is the second most common sleep disorder and usually affects those traveling on international flights or on domestic flights if traveling between time zones. This is what you call knocking your body clock out of synch. When you're traveling across different time zones, particularly at the international level, this can throw you off an entire day, especially when you cross the international date line.

Women are reportedly affected more often than men. According to medical reports, this is because of the natural hormone estrogen. It is triggered when the body is accustomed to normal daytime and nighttime rhythms. So when women travel extensively they are upsetting their body's natural state of corresponding with a specific time of day.

It can take up to several days or even a full week to regain some normalcy, but only after you have had time to adjust your sleep patterns. The symptoms vary by the individual person. The most common symptoms reported can include or be a combination of dehydration (which can trigger minor disorientation), loss of appetite, headaches and sinus irritations, fatigue, grogginess, nausea and/or vomiting from an upset stomach, irritability, and mild depression.

This sleep disorder is not linked to the length of a flight but to the trans merdian distance traveled. For example if you flew from New York to Los Angeles, which is approximately 5 hours, you will feel some jet lag crossing the Central and Mountain time zones. Jet lag can be extremely difficult in places like Alaska and Russia because of the fact that Alaska only sees a short amount of daylight and Russia has 11 different time zones. These would really throw someone off if they were flying from Copenhagen to Tokyo.

Usually people that are prone to jet lag are often given sedatives by their doctors to help them sleep through their flight and to wake up without the effects of it when they land in their destination.

Ways to recover quickly from it is proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep. People who don't sleep or get enough rest and relaxation will deal with it later when they land and the disorientation sets in. Sunlight, according to what most doctors say, can help reset your body's clock back in synch.

It's difficult to pinpoint the severity of this sleep disorder because it affects people so differently. Usually people who routinely travel on international flights are less likely to deal with this syndrome because they're used to the constant change and have managed to adapt to those changes. Some people travel monthly for business, and it's usually these business travelers who deal with this problem better than those who only travel occasionally for vacations.

The best treatment, however, is prevention. There are simple things you can do; for example, drink plenty of water before and during your flight and avoid alcoholic or carbonated beverages. As always, it is suggested that you consult with a physician if you find yourself suffering from jet lag for an extended period of time.



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