Jet Lag and Sleep
|Course Name||Jet Lag and Sleep|
Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:
- Define and discuss the term “Jet Lag”.
- Explain the cause of Jet Lag.
- Identify the steps that can be taken to prevent or minimize the effects of Jet Lag.
- List and discuss the steps that can be taken to “treat” the symptoms and side effects of Jet Lag.
Course InformationJet lag, or desynchronosis, is a temporary condition that some people experience following air travel across several time zones in a short period of time. This causes the traveler’s internal clock to be out of sync with the external environment. People experiencing jet lag have a difficult time maintaining their internal, routine sleep-wake pattern in their new location, because external stimuli, like sunshine and local timetables, dictate a different pattern. For this reason, one can feel lethargic one moment and excited the next. Jet lag creates a double bind for vacationers and business people who must cross several time zones to reach their destination, but who are also intent on maximizing sightseeing or productivity. As travelers attempt to adjust their internal clock to a new external environment, symptoms result with varying intensity.
Jet lag (desynchronosis) occurs while rapidly crossing time zones, or, more specifically, it occurs after crossing the Earth’s meridians. Meridians demarcate geographic position in relation to the Earth’s poles and, ultimately, define time zones. Jet lag is a unique sleep disorder because its onset is not necessarily caused by abnormal sleep patterns, like insomnia. Travelers who sleep normally prior to transmeridian travel are not immune to jet lag; the symptoms result when a person’s internal clock attempts to acclimate to a new external environment. This acclimation involves circadian rhythms that, among other functions, are associated with the body’s management of sleep.