Jet Lag – Managing this Sleep Disorder

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Managing this Sleep Disorder
Managing this Sleep Disorder

Jet lag refers to a temporary sleep disorder that arises when there is a mismatch between a person’s internal clock and the events that affect such a person due to travel between different time zones. Also called jet lag disorder, jet lag may last for several days until a person adjusts to the new time zone.

Jet lag more often than not occurs anytime one crosses two or more zones since crossing multiple time zones puts the internal clock of a person out of sync with the time in the new locale. For instance, when a person spends most of his time in flights through different cities, it will consequently take him a few days for his body to adjust along with other body functions like hunger and bowel habits. Notably, jet lag is only brought on by flying a long distance in at least two time zones like from East to West. People should not thus confuse fatigue to jet lag.

Jet lag may be aggravated by factors such as: number of time zones crossed, being a frequent flyer like pilots and flight attendants who often experience jet lag, older adults usually needs more recovery time from jet lag than young adults and one might find it harder to fly east when he loses time than to fly west when he gains it back.

Signs and Symptoms

Jet lag symptoms vary depending on the amount of time zone alteration, time of the day and the vulnerability of individual differences. Such symptoms may include sleep disturbance with poor sleep upon arrival, early awakening when flying west but trouble falling asleep while flying east, and interrupted sleep. Other negative effects include headaches, increased fatigue, digestive problems, irritability, indigestion and poor concentration.


This temporary condition often doesn’t require treatment. However, in a case of a frequent traveler like a pilot or flight attendant who is continually bothered by jet lag, a doctor may prescribe medications. Light therapy helps to ease the transition of one’s body across time zones allowing adjustments to new daylight schedules by resetting. This allows the traveler to sleep and be awake at the appropriate times.

A few basic steps might also aid in prevention of jet lag or reduce its effects. They include arriving early for your body to find time to adjust, getting enough rest before the trip, gradual adjustment of one’s schedule before the flight for instance going to bed earlier if one intends to travel east staying hydrated and trying to sleep on the plane if it’s nighttime at your destination just to mention but a few.

In conclusion, jet lag being a sleep disorder manifests itself through aforementioned symptoms that require constant preventive measures especially to business persons who constantly travel through different time zones. Such persons should reduce the amount of alcohol consumption, practice good diet coupled with enough water intake and good exercise; not forgetting the light therapy.

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