Facts About Jet Lag

What is jet lag? 

#Jetlag is a feeling of extreme #tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones as the body finding it difficult to adjust to a new time zone.

It is a temporary disorders that causes #fatigue, #insomnia as a result of disruption of internal body clock. Readjusting biological clock causes jet lag, sleep-wake pattern disrupted.

Jet lag also called physiological condition upsets/ circadian rhythms (#bodyclock) disorders. Circadian rhythms entrained by external environment occurrences such as light-dark cycle of night and day. Readjusting our internal biological clock causes jet lag. More time zones crossed rapidly, the more severe jet lag symptoms likely to be. And the older a human is, the more severe are their jet lag symptoms, and the longer they will take to get their body clocks back into synch. It depends on several factors, including:

  • How many time zones were travelled
  • The individual’s age
  • State of health
  • Whether or not alcohol was consumed during the flight
  • How much was eaten during the flight
  • What kind of #food you eat
  • How much sleep there was during the flight

How jet lag occurs?

One of the key influences on your internal clock is #sunlight. This is because light influences the regulation of #melatonin, a hormone that helps synchronize cells throughout the body. At night or when the light signal is low, the hypothalamus tells the pineal gland, a small organ situated in the brain, to release melatonin. During daylight hours, the opposite occurs, and the pineal gland produces very little melatonin.

New University of Washington research shows the disruption occurs in two separate but linked groups of neurons in a structure called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, below the hypothalamus at the base of the brain. One group is synchronized with deep sleep that results from physical fatigue and the other controls the dream state of rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep.

The ventral, or bottom, neurons receive light information directly from the eyes and govern rhythms in tune with periods of light and dark. The dorsal, or top, neurons do not receive direct light information and so govern rhythms as a more independent internal, or circadian, biological clock.

It turns out that some of the body’s rhythms are “more loyal” to the ventral neurons and others like REM are much more in tune with the dorsal neurons, said Horacio de la Iglesia, a UW associate professor of biology.”

“Disruptions such as jet travel across time zones or shift work can throw the cycles out of kilter. #Deepsleep is most closely tied to light-dark cycles and typically adjusts to a new schedule in a couple of days, but #REM sleep is more tied to the light-insensitive dorsal neurons and can be out of sync for a week or more.

When we impose a 22-hour light-dark cycle on animals, the ventral center can catch up but the dorsal doesn’t adapt and defaults to its own inner cycle, and REM sleep needed 6 to 8 days to catch up with non-REM, or deep, sleep, the sleep you usually experience in the first part of the night,” de la Iglesia said.”

Hence, if jet lag was being ignore by flight attendants all the time, the bad effects would be accumulated and lead to low daily performance and alertness, as jet lag is associated with lower learning #performance. Due to disruption of the normal circadian sequence of sleep states, which is very detrimental to learning.


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