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What Is Jet Lag?

12-08-2011

Flying overseas is generally pretty exciting, our ability to travel hundreds and even thousands of kilometres in a matter of hours has revolutionised the world, making international travel possible in a manner that our ancestors would have never believed. There is a cost to this incredible ability though, it is called jetlag and it is the scourge of the international traveller, especially for those, often businesspeople, who are only in the country for a day or two before they leave. So what exactly is jetlag?

In general, light helps to set our internal body clock. We have special light receptive cells in our eyes that tell our brain when it is day and night. This works fine when we stay in one place, but when we shift locations drastically, we wreak havoc on our internal body clock. Our brain is unsure of the time and our physiological status fluctuates dramatically. The result is either lethargy, insomnia or both.

One way of ameliorating jetlag is by conditioning yourself. You should being to acclimatise your body to the new time zone before you get there. Begin to adjust your body clock at least a week earlier and you will find the transition much less painful. You can do this by gradually changing your sleep patterns.

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