Also known as "jet lag", jet lag is that phenomenon that occurs when changing time zone drastically, when traveling to a distant country, causing a feeling of tiredness and disorientation.
What exactly is jet lag?
All people have a biological clock, also called circadian rhythm, which controls our activity and our feeling sleepy. This clock is regulated by light, most of the time natural, although it can be influenced by artificial light.
When traveling to a different time zone, our circadian rhythm gets out of sync of the environment. This feeling out of step is manifested more when crossing five different time zones.
The Earth is divided into 24 different time zones. These start at the Greenwich Meridian in London, UK: on either side are 12 time zones, each with a different time.
For this same reason, we notice much more the effects of jet lag when traveling from Spain or Europe to places like America, Asia and Oceania or vice versa: the further we get of our town, there is more time difference. However, it does not work in the same way if we travel to places like northern Europe or Africa, since the time zone is the same.
Symptoms of jet lag
Each person feels this time change differently and to a greater or lesser extent. This feeling of decompensation usually lasts between two days and a week, although it can be extended if the destination is very far away.
El jet lag mainly affects sleep, being the cause of: fatigue during the day; low energy; Sleeping problems; frequent night awakenings and/or waking up very early; and feeling of clumsiness, irritability and lack of concentration, among others.
Also, although to a lesser extent, can affect digestive processes, considerably reducing appetite, producing indigestion and a feeling of general malaise.
How to prevent or beat it
The trick is in adapt your internal clock as best and as soon as possible to the new schedule.
This can be done before the trip: try to go to sleep earlier or later depending on the new schedule to which you have to adapt.
Once Got on the plane, try to sleep or stay awake, depending on whether it is a night or day flight. Set your clocks (both analog and digital) to the new time zone before you arrive there.
Sometimes, if the stay in the destination is only a few days, the body will not adapt to the new place and since it is a short time, it is not worth trying to adjust your schedule. Adapt for just a couple of days it can be counterproductive If you quickly go home.
There are other methods to alleviate jet lag or try to reduce it. A very popular one is caffeine, which can help for a short period of time and is not recommended in excess, as its effects are temporary. Also, for people with frequent sleep problems, you can consume melatonin supplements (although always under the supervision of a doctor).