Dear Fellow Business
I think that most people who travel frequently or have ever flown a
long distance have exerienced some level of jet lag. When it
mildly affects your sleep pattern it's not that big a deal. But,
sometimes it can cause serious issues for prolonged periods of time and
take a serious toll on the body. In this month's Newsletter, we
talk about how jet lag affects us, what causes it (or makes it worse)
and what we can do to help prevent it or get over it.
Be sure to check out our February 2007 Newsletter about International Travel
for information about traveling abroad.
To Your Health,
How Jet Lag Affects our Health
jet lag also jet·lag
of bodily rhythms caused by high-speed travel across several time zones
typically in a jet aircraft.
If you were to hear that
you were suffering from desynchronosis, you might immediately fear the
worst. But this is just a big scientific
name for jet
lag. When you travels across many time
zones in a relatively short amount of time your body's clock becomes
sync with their external environment creating the condition we simply
The human body operates
on its own internal clock known as a circadian rhythm.
The circadian rhythm operates without a clock
and takes about 25 hours to complete. This
is what dictates the "wake" and "sleep" patterns in each of
us. During these rhythms, your body
changes, getting warmer throughout the day and dropping off late at
on your established routine in the time zone you live in.
Depending on which
direction you are traveling across times zones your rhythm is affected
either extending your external day or making it shorter.
This becomes a direct conflict with your
established rhythm. By traveling to a
location where the pattern of the sun and your established internal
not the same it can be a great shock to the system and a major source
external stress on the body.
Suffering from jet lag can
create feelings of lethargy or being totally drained of energy. Then, when you would like to be able to rest
and sleep, say during external stimuli such as darkness or night, you
become awake or even excited as if it were morning or you consumed a
of caffeine. Jet lag can be a problem
for anyone traveling across times zones, but is usually more prevalent
people who have traveled through three or more time zones quickly. The farther you travel, the worse the effects
Being considerably out
of rhythm can lead to sleep deprivation or, in the recovery phase,
extended periods of sleep which can be just as bad.
Because your body has been trained to
function with roughly a certain amount of sleep at roughly the same
day, it does not always react well to being thrown out of whack. Not only can it result in a lack of energy,
and productivity, but in more extreme cases can lead to the onset of
depression, as well as affect your metabolism and other internal
Often jet lag is
experienced more after returning from a trip than when you reach your
destination. Part of the reason for this
is because you are usually excited about where you are going for a
of time. Whether it’s for work and you
have a lot to accomplish or you are going on vacation and there is a
lot to enjoy. Also, both workers and
vacationers tend to do
things while they are away that ultimately make jet lag worse upon
return. Business travelers usually tax
more than normal because they are working hard on the big presentation,
whatever the case may be. Vacationers on
the other hand push their bodies harder than normal and try to make the
each day by getting up early, spending tons of time walking and pushing
into the evening.
If you are going to be
traveling a great distance in a short period of time, here are a few
can do to hopefully eliminate jet lag, or at least make the transition
We can do to help fight it:
Be mindful of the time
zone you are traveling to as opposed to the one you are leaving. Try to establish your pattern on the journey
to fit the external clock there. That
may mean staying up through the long flight so that you can sleep when
there at night time.
been proven to reduce the onset and effects of jet lag on travelers who
quickly crossed anywhere between 2-4 time zones. This
usually is more effective when you are
travel to the east, or loosing time.
Jet lag is not
something that a physician should be contacted for, but keep a watchful
your symptoms and if you have returned from a trip and suffering jet
12 days you should consult a physician.
More Helpful Information
:: The Sleep Channel's Jet
Lag Page has a lot of useful information on this topic, as well as
On the The
American Academy of Family Physicians site there is a published study
on the topic: Can
Melatonin Prevent or Treat Jet Lag?