Jet lag or flight fatigue causes many symptoms and temporary disorders.
How to deal with this change?
As we grow into the hectic life of an adult, we learn to treasure our sleep more than almost anything else. It is an integral step for our bodies to recuperate from the stress from the previous day and a refresher, to equip us for the next.
But, what happens when you’ve ripped away from that sleep cycle, that you’ve carefully planned for the week?
A business trip to the other end of the world, or a relaxing getaway with your loved ones; having a steady sleep pattern is critical, and here’s why.
It all boils down to fatigue:
A stressed effect on the body that results in the lack of concentration, severe migraines, and large energy depletion. The disruption to a sleep cycle will leave the body at a disadvantage to cope with 12-14 hours of moving about. Even while having your rest, jetlag still becomes the culprit of fatigue if your seven hours of sleep is interrupted. The information of rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) places an important role in determining the kind of sleep you get during your jetlag phase.
REM is a sleep disorder that begins with irregular eye movement, blood pressure rise and an increase in heart rate. Having an active brain while suffering from these symptoms can result in a physical reaction to your dreams — ultimately leading to an unwanted disturbance your bio clock. This is definitely a potential threat when suffering jetlag due to the abnormal timings of heightened brain activity. There have been cases of REM escalating to more severe disorders like Parkinson’s, but can be overcome when adjusting your body clock swiftly.
The worse effect of REM is surprisingly not in the interruption of a sleep cycle, but the inability to return to the state of slumber. It is not to the extreme of insomnia, but will definitely bring about fatigue when not tended to.
A deeper look at the science of sleep deprivation: melatonin
Melatonin is the hormone responsible for your sleep cycle. The Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SN) is a receptor in the brain that reacts to light, following with supplying the body with its regular flux of hormones. From light, through the retina and into the eyes, the cycle stops when less light is transmitted; resulting in what we simply call, a sleep cycle.
The Pineal Gland is…well, a gland that secretes the hormone called melatonin, which then transfers into our blood stream. When SN does not receive light gradually, its hormone discharge slows down, which is where the drowsy effect of melatonin comes into play. With a large amount of melatonin collected during the day, the hormonal effect kicks in at an end of the sleep cycle — giving a human its fixed biorhythm.
Hope is definitely not lost and there are simple, yet effective ways to overcome jetlag.
1- If you’re traveling to a location that is hours behind your time, sleeping a few hours earlier from your regular timing can make a big difference. Not to disregard the priorities of daily responsibilities, but these few hours of change could prove most useful, especially when practiced a week before traveling if your trip is a long one.
2- An alternative is adjusting to the time of your destination as quickly as possible. If your arrival is the middle of the afternoon, having the discipline to stay awake will bring you far; waiting for an appropriate time to rest is a good way to start. If arriving in the middle of the night, staying awake during the flight is important to preserve your rest time to the destination’s time zone. When conditioning yourself to the relevant time zone, having meals when your SN is at its prime during the day can help ease your hormonal regulation, nutrients and all. This is a more common strategy, but it will take a longer period of time to adapt.
3– Use supplementation to support your body adjust its circadian rhythm:
Melatonin is, of course, the first thing that comes to mind. Taken at nightfall it “tricks” the body’s internal clock which is not yet adjusted to your local time, by inducing sleep. 0.5mg to 3 mg are commonly taken for jet lag issues. Prolonged use of melatonin is not advised.
Melatonin is used in Activa Chrono Serenity. Taken during the day, Melatonin has been shown to have some positive results on anxiety and depression symptoms.
Trace minerals are pure micro minerals essential to life that optimizes bodily functions. Doctors of a French private clinic specialize in research on the effect of minerals on the organism, noticed that the combination of different minerals might have an impact and rebalance specific “unstable” fields in the body. They have developed a range of mineral blends, which includes one that addresses Jet Lag and supports the body’s internal clock during jetlag.
Images Credit: 123RF
Author: Ezra Gideon
[42. Jansen S, Forbes D, Duncan V, Morgan D, Malouf R. Melatonin for the treatment of dementia.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(1):CD003802. Summary www2.cochrane.org
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