Health Travel

I Have the Jet Lag Blues

August 28, 2018
Flying in circles with jet lag ean-alabaster-535247-unsplash
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Have you ever had a bad case of jet lag? Merriam-Webster defines it as “a condition that is characterized by various psychological and physiological effects (as fatigue and irritability), occurs following long flight through several time zones, and probably results from disruption of circadian rhythms in the human body — called also jet fatigue.”

Rugby Players Without Jet Lag
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

On the other hand, The Urban Dictionary, which I have a growing fondness for says, “Jet lag is an expected scapegoat for laziness, or a sports team fucking up … andrew: ooohh.. mate im toooo tired.. my jetlag is killing me.”

View from a jet window
Photo by Eva Darron on Unsplash

Circadian Rhythms

Whichever way you look at it if you fly from say Sydney, Australia to Los Angles you are looking at some serious jet lag time. Non-stop flights will take up 15 hours plus of your time. This plays horrible games with your circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that most organisms, including humans, follow.

monkey with the jet lag blues
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

According to Jake Chen, an associate professor in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Graduate Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), “In our life, we say, ‘Timing is everything.’ But that’s an exaggeration. It is not, however, an exaggeration to say, ‘There is an optimal time for everything.’ In our body, it’s the same. Within individual cells and within each tissue or organ there’s a time for every physiological process. The circadian clock is the master mechanism, or timer, to make sure that everything runs smoothly and according to plan. That is a fundamental function.”

Watch What You Eat & Drink

So what can you do to help with your jet lag? Some advocate not eating on the plane, and most recommend no caffeine or alcohol.

Coffee in Pilgrims, Milton Australia
Coffee in Pilgrims, Milton Australia Photo by Chiara Pinna on Unsplash

Try Natural Sleep Aids

Sleeping on the flight is highly recommended, but advice that is not always easy to follow.  You can try taking melatonin to help you sleep as well as bringing eye covers and earplugs. Here is an interesting article by Alex Fergus on natural aids that you can use to help with sleep deprivation.

Sleeping Koala Bear
Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Here is another article by that has some excellent advice for dealing with jet lag.

Tips For The Nerdy Among Us

If you are really feeling nerdy there are 40 times zones in the world and you can learn all about them here plus track where the sun and moon are in the world at any given moment.

Don’t Let Jet Lag Keep You Down

Above all, don’t let jet lag stop your traveling. The world is a wonderful place full of interesting people and things of beauty. What’s a little jet lag weighed against that?

Camel, Man, Fun, Travel
Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash

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