What is jet lag?
Jet lag is the group of symptoms experienced when adapting to a new day-night schedule, following a flight to a new time zone. It is commonly experienced by people of all ages, it mild to moderate forms.
The severity and root of the symptoms depend on the number of time zones one has flown across. Whereby, symptoms only first develop when three to six time zones are crossed, and severe jet lag is felt when seven to twelve time zones are crossed.
The condition comes about as a result of the internal body clock not being able to adjust to a new time zone and day-night schedule immediately, requiring days to fully adapt, depending on the severity of the condition.
Jet lag is felt more severely when flying West to East.
The main symptom experienced is the inability to delay ejaculation during sex, every time or most times, for more than one minute after penetration, with minimal sexual stimulation.Symptoms of jet lag vary from person to person, and largely depend on the number of time zones crossed. They only start to develop when one has flown over at least three time zones.
Sleep disturbance is the primary symptom of jet lag, where you might find it difficult to fall asleep at correct times, feeling tired and lethargic for the rest of the day.
Other symptoms that come about with jet lag include;
- Loss of appetite
- Memory problems
- Irregular periods for women
These can last for as long as 6 days after you have travelled.
Jet lag is caused the body is forced to adapt to a new day-night schedule and establish a normal daily routine, immediately after having flown across several time zones. The body finds this difficult as the internal body clock cannot adjust as and when, the process takes some time, depending on how drastic the required change is.
Our bodies have a circadian rhythm, which are 24-hour variations in body functions, controlled by internal biological clocks. Jet lag is caused when the circadian rhythm needs to re-align with a different day-night schedule and routine, disrupting the routine the body is used to. Therefore the body has to catch up and re-establish a new circadian rhythm, which required time.
The condition is felt more severely when flying West to East. The body finds it easier to adapt when it travels from East to West, as you gain time going in this direction, having a longer day than usual. It is easier to extend your day and delay sleep than to shorten the day and forcefully induce sleep.
General fatigue that accompanies travelling, especially over long distances, also adds to the symptoms of jet lag, taking longer for the body to recuperate.
Jet lag doesn’t usually require a diagnosis from a doctor. Almost everyone who travels across distances in a short time span is bound to experience jet lag.
If you are experiencing the symptoms that are typical of a jet lag, you can be sure you are facing the condition.
Jet lag self-resolves in a few days time, once you have begun to establish a daily routine in the new place you have flown to. How quickly it resolves will depend on how far you have flown and hence the severity of the symptoms experienced.
To aid the process you can try to establish a new routine as quickly as possible, according to the new time zone. Avoid napping during the day even if you are extremely tired, and spend time outdoors as natural light helps the body clock adjust faster.
We can also prescribe medication if you are travelling, to help you settle down into a routine faster, without having to experience all typical symptoms.
Melatonin is a hormone released by our bodies every evening, signaling to the brain that it is nearing time to sleep. Our body clocks are synchronized to a daytime lifestyle by natural light, hence when it begins to get dark, melatonin is produced to prepare for sleep. It can therefore help in establishing a routine faster by inducing sleep.