What is Jet Lag? Essentially jet lag is the result of your body struggling to adjust to new time zones and its effect on your sleep. The world is divided into 24 different time zones and when we cross these time zones our body’s natural 24 hour body clock is disrupted. The effects of jet lag can be small or unnoticeable on short haul flights (across fewer than 3 timezones) but the more time zones you cross the worse the jet lag can become.
What are the effects?
Disruption of your natural body clock and disruption of your sleep pattern can make you tired, lethargic and sometimes confused. Disruption of your body clock/biological clock in turn disrupts your normal waking pattern which controls when you feel tired and hungry – this in turn can affect your appetite, digestion, bowel habits. Other effects can include:
Jet lag is generally worse when flying East where we lose time. Our bodies are better at coping with an increase in time (flying west) rather than a reduction . It is a lot easier to go to sleep an hour later than it is to get up an hour earlier.
What can we do to treat it?
Prevention is better than a cure – which seems appropriate as there is no quick fix for Jet lag at present.
The good news is the symptoms of jet lag will normally resolve within 2 days once your body clock has adjusted to the new time zone.
Melatonin is a hormone that your body releases in the evening, it’s a hormone that help prepare your body and brain for sleep. Melatonin production stops in daylight to help you to wake up. Your natural body clock is controlled and kept in balance by both daylight and the Melatonin released in your body.
Some jet lag remedies contain Melatonin to try and help you body to sleep at night when it is having trouble adjusting. Melatonin is most effective when taken 3 hours before you want to sleep but unfortunately there is little evidence to support the use of Melatonin supplements.
Before you travel: