Jet lag is a temporary condition that affects those who have travelled through multiple time zones. The disruption to your natural body clock can often cause insomnia, extreme tiredness, headaches and irritability. Instead of waiting for yourself to adjust naturally (which can take time), alleviate the symptoms of jet lag with our effective medications.
What is jet lag?
Jet lag (medically known as desynchronosis and flight fatigue) is a disorder that causes sleeping problems, fatigue, headaches, moodiness and digestive issues. These problems are temporary and happen as a result of travelling through multiple different time zones, which knocks your natural sleeping rhythm.
Generally, you do not need a medical consultation to be able to diagnose jet lag; pretty much everybody who travels across travel time zones will experience jet lag to some degree, with the severity increasing for every additional time zone you have travelled through. The symptoms affect children and babies in the same way as adults and usually last for a few days.
What causes jet lag?
To understand what causes jet lag, you must first understand what time zones are and how our natural body clock works. The world is split into 24 different time zones; one for every hour of the day, and the dividers run from north to south in approximately 1,000 mile wide strips. That means that everywhere in each given section is running on the same time, and the reason for these differentiations is because we all set our time by the rising and setting of the sun. Because of the way the earth rotates, exposure to the sun occurs at different times for different places, hence why the time zones exist.
The way that our internal body clocks work is very much the same. We are naturally programmed to sleep when it’s dark and wake when it’s light so that when darkness falls, messages are sent to our brain to tell it that it’s time to go to sleep. Our brains then begin to produce chemicals that keep us asleep and then these levels decrease when daylight appears and our body realises it’s time to wake up. This is called our circadian rhythm and it works on a 24-hour cycle.
When we travel across time zones, our body is still working to the original 24 hour pattern, meaning that you are either awake for hours or falling asleep early, and then struggling to wake up or rising at the crack of dawn. As your body struggles to cope with the new schedule, this can cause tiredness and irritability, as well as stomach upset (because our bodies also follow a pattern in regards to bathroom scheduling).
People travelling east experience the most problems because they “lose” time, meaning that the body clock has to advance. This is more difficult than delaying it, which is why people tend to notice milder jet lag when travelling west. The severity of your jet lag will mainly depend on how many time zones you’ve crossed though. Attempting to change your body clock by 2 hours will naturally cause fewer problems than trying to change it by 9.
How can I treat jet lag?
In general, most people will get over jet lag in a few days, sometimes as long as a week (depending on how many time zones you crossed). To assist in getting over jet lag quicker (to minimise its impact on your holiday, for example), we stock Circadin, which has proved to be effective.
Many people who travel take sleeping tablets before their flight, to assist them in getting a good rest before arriving to their destination. If you travel often and have difficulty finding the time to sleep, a doctor may prescribe you prescription strength sleeping medication to help you. This medication may assist you with relief from Insomnia and other sleeping disorders.
Melatonin is a hormone that is released to promote sleep, and levels are reduced when it’s time to wake up. Containing this hormone, Circadin helps your body clock to adjust by mimicking its natural process. So taking this medication when you don’t feel tired (but the time in the new destination is telling you it’s bedtime), will help you to fall asleep and wake up at the desired time.
There are a number of things that you can do to help to minimise your symptoms of jet lag, before and after you travel. Try adjusting your schedule before you travel, so that your body doesn’t notice such an abrupt change, and adapt to the local schedule as soon as you land (so if it’s breakfast according to your body clock but lunch according to the new time zone, eat lunch). Avoid alcohol and caffeine too as they can both mess with your sleeping pattern further (rather than helping it).
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