Jet lag is a feeling of tiredness and confusion after a long aircraft journey and it makes a person feel lost suddenly. When we travel, we sometimes travel in a different time zone; the changes in the time zones make a person feel jetlagged. When a person is jetlagged they tend to feel very drowsy and tired. It completely changes a person’s sleep pattern. The changes in sleep pattern sometimes cause sleep deprivation which results in Depression, Stress, Anxiety and Loss of Appetite.
The world is divided into twenty four different time zones. Our body is prone to only specific time zone and when a person travels across a time zone, their sleep pattern is disturbed. Your body controls your sleeping and waking up pattern but it also affects the following simultaneously:
Every individual’s body clock is set according to their local timing and their daily activities are set according to that clock such as the time for meals and times for sleep. However, when a person is traveling, they tend to cross different time zones. In order to get accustomed to their timings; the body clock takes some time to get used to it.
What are the Symptoms?
When a person is jetlagged, it becomes very much obvious from their behavior as well as body language. You can observe the symptoms of jetlag just by looking at their face and observing their attitude. Following are the classic symptoms of a person who is jetlagged. These are the symptoms which almost every person suffering from jetlag faces:
- Fatigue and Disorientation: A person feels tired and disoriented days after arriving and they are unable to get used to their surroundings according to the timings. Everything around them seems boring and pointless. The person tends to lack concentration and motivation and does not wish to indulge in any activity that requires work and effort. Even simple tasks such as driving, reading or merely running a short errand becomes tedious.
- Interrupted Sleep: Since a person travels over different time zones, their sleep pattern gets badly interrupted. You tend to sleep during the day and stay up during the night and find it quite normal because your body clock is used to the old time zone, the one where you have traveled from. It may take days for your body clock to adjust to the current time zone. In fact, NASA estimates that you will take one day for every one hour time zone you have crossed to get back to your normal rhythm and energy levels.
- Confusion and Fuzziness: You tend to feel confused and check and recheck to see if all your belongings are in the right place. A lot of people tend to go back and forth to their hotel room, to make sure if they have taken the most important business files or locked the hotel room properly. It gets hectic for people with small kids as they get very irritated and irked because of jetlag.
- Losing Temper or Getting Uptight: People tend to get angry at small things that do not need such attention. This factor is usually encountered on planes with people who are traveling long distances. The flight crew gets irritated and so do the people on the plane which is followed by the long and tedious procedure of Immigration and Customs checking. Getting to the hotel room seems like a difficult challenge at that time. Moreover, just by being on a plane for too long causes different physical problems.
- Dehydration: The dry air at the high attitudes which aircrafts fly in can often give people headaches. They are also known tocause irritation in the nostrils and make the skin dry. In addition, you become more susceptible to colds, coughs, sore throats and flu viruses that might be floating around the aircraft.
- Uncomfortable Legs and Feet: When people travel long distance, the constant sitting and dangling of legs tends to make the limbs quite uncomfortable. By the time you get off the plane, tend to get swollen, and the urge of stretching them becomes quite persistent.
- Overall Health Problems: Suffering from jetlag can leave you feeling tired and lethargic. You are not able to enjoy your travelling and often people start losing their appetite and become nauseous.
What Causes Jet Lag?
There are many different factors that cause jetlag. Following are some of the main reasons due to which a person suffers from jetlag:
- Crossing Different Time Zones: Our internal body clock is used to one time zone in which we live in. Traveling makes it difficult to get used to a new time zone suddenly.
- Stale Air: The air present in the plane is not fresh and causes a person to feel tired and irritated. Moreover, a person starts having headaches because of the poor air quality in the cabin.
- Alcohol: It is known that one glass of alcohol or wine in the plane while flying over 30,000ft is equal to 3 glasses of alcohol or wine on ground.
- Cabin Pressure: While cruising at 30000ft the cabin pressure is pressurized to 8000 which often leads to Swelling, Tiredness, Fatigue or Lethargy.
- Lack of Physical Activity: The biggest drawback of long haul flights is that the person sits for 17 or 18 hours on end and cannot stretch their limbs. The lack of physical activity causes jetlag too.
What Are The Treatments?
There are no such treatments for jetlag as the symptoms disappear once the body gets used to the current time zone. However, you can do the following to ease your own discomfort:
- Establish a New Routine: Try your best to eat and sleep at the correct times for your new time zone and not the time you usually eat and sleep at home.
- Avoid Napping: Even if you are really tired, avoid sleeping as it will just disorient you more when you wake up. Staying active until the proper time to sleep will help your body adjust quicker.
- Spend Time Outdoors: Natural light and outdoors help in enabling the mind and body to adjust to a new routine.