Jet lag is a short-term body condition that leads to insomnia and fatigue, among other symptoms due to air travel through different time zones. The disturbance comes from the change in regularity day by day due to the long distance journey. For example, if a person travels from London to New York, he would feel like time was five hours later than local time.
A person can experience jet lag for many days before fully adapting to the new time zone. Many airline pilots, frequent travelers and flight crews are the victims of jet lag, and airline lag lag regulations are there to help combat pilot fatigue resulting from jet lag. Furthermore, a suggested recovery guideline for this condition states that a 24-hour period is sufficient for recovery for each time zone traversed by the traveler. Therefore, if a person spends three time zones, a recovery period of three days is required before the traveler is adjusted to the time.
The main cause of jet lag is the inability of a person’s body to adapt to time in another area as soon as he or she lands there. The biological clock is usually not synchronized when a person travels through different time zones. Mostly, the body would experience the light of day and the darkness to which it was not used, making its natural model upset. The reason behind the disturbance is that the rhythms that usually dictate the time to sleep, meals, changes in body temperature, regulation of hormones and other body functions would lose their correspondence with the surrounding environment. Thus, the body reaches a point where it cannot cope with the surrounding environment.
The body of an individual and the direction of travel determine the speed with which that body would adapt to the new program. Some individuals would suffer few interruptions from the change of time zone, while others would need several days to recover from the time zone. It is important to note that crossing the International Date Line is not a contributing factor to jet lag alone since the time zone measurement is based on the number of time zones a traveler passes. The maximum possible time is more or less twelve hours and in cases where the time difference between any two zones is greater than twelve hours, the difference must be subtracted from 24.
The best way to manage jet lag is the cautious and controlled exposure and avoidance of intense light towards the eyes. Light stimulates the readaptation of a person to the sleep-wake program. It is an essential requirement that eliminates the hormone melatonin, which is produced in darkness and dim light. Therefore, timed exposure to light is the most effective method to match the circadian rhythm of travelers with anticipated progression in their last stop. Another way to manage jet lag is a short-acting sleeping drug that improves sleep quality. Furthermore, meal and exercise planning can be a practical approach to managing jet lag.