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Jet Lag Disorder Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

What Is Jet Lag Disorder ?

Medically known as desynchronosis, Jet lag disorder is a physiological condition which tends to occur due to the alterations to the body’s circadian rhythm.

Circadian rhythm is a term used for any biological process that displays an endogenous oscillation of 24 hours. It tends to include the sleep cycle, appetite, digestion etc.

In jet lag disorder, due to rapid long distance transmeridian travel on a high speed aircraft, the affected individual experiences sleep problems.

The symptoms associated with jet lag disorder may persist for a few days and may disappear as the body adapts to the changes in time zone.

Although a temporary problem, jet lag may lead to reduction of leisure time and business travel comfort. However, it can be minimized and avoided.

Causes Of Jet Lag Disorder

The underlying cause of jetlag disorder can be traced back to three major factors. These include the following:

  • Disruption of circadian rhythms
  • Jet lad tends to occur when an indivual crosses two or more time zone or travels east to west or west to east.
  • It occurs because change in time zones results in the circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep cycle, to become out of sync
  • Influence of sunlight
  • Light tends to influence the regulation of a hormone called melatonin
  • Melatonin helps in synchronization of body cells
  • Lack of exposure to sunlight in the new time zone tends to aggravate symptoms
  • Airline cabin pressure and atmosphere
  • Since humidity level is low in planes, lack of hydration may lead to symptoms of jet lag
  • Change in pressure associated with high altitudes may cause jet lag

Symptoms Of Jet Lag Disorder

The following symptoms are exhibited:

  • Disturbed sleep — such as insomnia, early waking or excessive sleepiness
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or functioning at your usual level
  • Stomach problems, constipation or diarrhea
  • Mood changes
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty concentrating
  • feeling disorientated
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • memory problems
  • clumsiness
  • lethargy (lack of energy)
  • lightheadedness
  • confusion
  • headaches
  • sweating
  • muscle soreness
  • irregular periods in women who travel frequently

Treatment Of Jet Lag Disorder

In order to relieve symptoms associated with jet lag, the following treatment options are available:

  • Medications
  • Nonbenzodiazepines
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Light therapy

Prevention Of Jet Lag Disorder

Jet lag can be prevented if the following steps are undertaken:

  • Drinking a lot of fluids on flight
  • Changing the sleeping cycle before travelling
  • Avoiding alcohol

By : Natural Health News

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