Head | Neurology | Jet lag (Disease)
Jet lag, medically referred to as desynchronosis, is a physiological condition which results from alterations to the bodys circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance transmeridian (east–west or west–east) travel on a jet airplane. It is classified as one of the circadian rhythm sleep disorders.
The condition of jet lag may last several days until one is fully adjusted to the new time zone, and a recovery rate of one day per time zone crossed is a suggested guideline. The issue of jet lag is especially pronounced for airline pilots, crew, and frequent travelers. Airlines have regulations aimed at combating pilot fatigue caused by jet lag.
Causes and Risk factors
Jet lag is a chronobiological-related problem, similar to issues often induced by shift work. When traveling across a number of time zones, the body clock will be out of synchronization with the destination time, as it experiences daylight and darkness contrary to the rhythms to which it has grown accustomed: the bodys natural pattern is upset, as the rhythms that dictate times for eating, sleeping, hormone regulation and body temperature variations no longer correspond to the environment nor to each other in some cases. To the degree that the body cannot immediately realign these rhythms, it is jet lagged.
The speed at which the body adjusts to the new schedule depends on the individual; some people may require several days to adjust to a new time zone, while others experience little disruption. Crossing one or two time zones does not typically cause jet lag.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Melatonin is sometimes recommended and sleeping medications may be prescribed. ...