Jet Lag FAQs
The following are some of the frequently asked questions about Jet lag.
What is a time zone?
A time zone is a geographical region in which every clock keeps the same time.
In all, the world has 24 time zones, one for each hour in the day.
Each zone runs from north to south in strips of approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) wide. (The actual width of each zone varies to accommodate political and geographical boundaries.)
As the earth rotates, sunrise occurs at a set hour in one time zone, then an hour later in the time zone immediately to the west and soon through the 24-hour cycle. Thus, in the U.S. when it is 6 a.m. in the Eastern Time Zone, it is 5 a.m. in the Central Zone, 4 a.m. in the Mountain Zone, and 3 a.m. in the Pacific Zone.
Who gets Jet Lag?
- People can suffer jet lag just crossing the United States from New York to Los Angeles but would be much less affected by flying from New York to Bogota in Colombia, a north-south flight of even longer duration. People crossing multiple time zones suffer jet lag.
- Passengers are more affected than flight professional because they are less accustomed to the factors causing jet lag
- People who are on a long travel suffer jet lag
- People in poor flight conditions suffer more than others on the same flight as you may not be conveniently positioned.
- People who normally stick to a strict daily routine or are bothered by changes of routine are often the worst sufferers. People whose normal lives involve highly diverse routines can often adjust their circadian rhythms better and adapt to a disruption of normal eating and sleeping patterns. People who get to sleep easily may also cope better with the adjustment.
Why does Jet Lag occur?
Jet lag occurs because the body of a traveler cannot immediately change to the time in a different zone. Thus, when a New Yorker arrives in Paris at midnight Paris time, his or her body continues to operate on New York time. As the body resists coping with the new timetable, temporary insomnia, tiredness, irritability, and an impaired ability to concentrate may set in.
Meanwhile, the bowels may malfunction in reaction to the changed bathroom schedule, and the brain may become confused and unsettled as it attempts to manage schedules.
What are techniques for avoiding Jet Lag?
- Firstly for avoiding jet lag, make sure you have all your business affairs and personal affairs settled before departing and don't leave it all till the last moment. Don’t be under stress the night before you leave. Try to avoid illness such as flu or colds. If you have a cold, flying will probably make it worse - ideally you should delay the trip.
- Get as much exercise as you can for avoiding jet lag. Exercises in your seat will help to reduce uneasiness, especially swelling of legs and feet. Get off the plane if possible at stopovers, take a walk and if possible do some exercise.
- Neck rests, blindfolds, ear plugs and blow-up pillows are all useful in helping you get quality sleep while flying. Kick your shoes off to relieve pressure on the feet.
- During extended stopovers on a long-haul flight, you can take showers. A shower not only makes you fresh but gets the muscles and circulation going again.
- Long-haul travelers find that they sleep better in flight by using headphones which reduce the effect of engine noise.
- Using the correct dosage of melatonin reduces jet lag but if used incorrectly, the problem becomes complicated.
- Some people use sleeping pills to alleviate jet lag. Firstly, they won't work, and secondly they are an unsafe approach. Sleeping pills induce a comatose state with little or no natural body movement. The blood gravitates down into the leg veins and can even clot if not stimulated to keep circulating by occasional leg movement. Another problem with some sleeping pills is that they are variants on anti-histamines and tend to dehydrate the body.