Jet lag is the name for a set of symptoms that are experienced when a person crosses timezones. It’s a form of sleep disorder that not only affects sleep but causes other systems in the body. It’s not a dangerous condition but it can affect the quality of your travels. There are a number of treatments for jet lag but the main method of management is natural treatment with supplements. You can read more about these supplements at Research and You, a website which publishes expert reviews of natural supplements.
What causes jet lag?
Jet lag is caused by desynchronization between the natural biological clock (circadian rhythm) and the cues from the environment. In order to cope with the environmental changes that occur during the day, our body has a biological clock which governs the release of certain hormones to cope with expected environmental changes. For example, your body anticipates that you will go to sleep after 16 hours of being awake, so it causes your blood vessels to dilate and your metabolism to slow down to prepare for sleep. There are environmental cues which can alter this. For example, high levels of light inhibit the release of a hormone called melatonin, which prevents all of the physiological changes that facilitate falling asleep.
As you can imagine, if your body is expecting you to fall asleep in 8 hours, and you cross a time zone that is 3 hours behind, you will begin to feel tired 3 hours before you would go to sleep in the new time zone. This can cause fatigue. The reverse is also true if your body is expecting you to go to sleep at certain time but you crossed a time zone that is ahead of you, the time you would normally go to bed does not sync up with what your body is expecting.
The biological clock might sound a little bit pseudoscientific, but there is actually strong research that is looking at an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which contains proteins that stick together for a number of hours and when they release, the signal feeds back and causes a number of effects to bring about sleepiness
What are the symptoms of jet lag?
The symptoms of fatigue and insomnia are well understood because it is literally just your body’s sleep clock being out of sync with the environment. But there are a number of other symptoms that are little bit more difficult to explain. These include:
And a number of other symptoms which are associated with a sleep disorder like confusion, headache, irritability and dizziness.
All of the gastrointestinal symptoms that are experienced are thought to be because the same circadian rhythm that governs sleep, governs our eating cycle as well. It’s quite well-known that a body develops a clock for when we eat. We tend to become hungry at the same time every day.
The severity of the symptoms range from person to person and how big a time difference there is between the two time zones from which they left and arrived respectively.
More about natural treatments for jet lag
Natural treatments for jet lag include melatonin and are often taken to help a person fall asleep. The natural treatment need not include melatonin, but may include the other natural ingredients which have similar effects. They also include a variety of vitamins and minerals that help the muscles and brain to relax. Another fundamental ingredient of them is amino acids that help to reset and readjust the biological clock to its new environment.
There has also been some success using these natural supplements to downright prevent the onset of jet lag symptoms completely.
Some other ideas to consider are:
- Adjusting your routine before you cross the time zones. For example, if you are crossing a timezone that is 2 hours behind, then you should try to go to bed a few hours later for a week or two before traveling.
- Beware of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages because these can affect your sleep cycle.
- Drink plenty of water while traveling as this can help you to cope with the temperature changes and prevent dehydration.
Whatever the case, make sure to look after yourself using these techniques and the right supplement so that you can enjoy your holiday to the fullest without it being interrupted by jet lag.
The full article can be read at Everything You Need To Know About Jet Lag.
Source: Four Jamdals