Jet lag: qué es y cómo vencerlo

Jet lag: what it is and how to beat it

Also known as “jet lag,” jet lag is a phenomenon that occurs when changing time zones drastically, when traveling to a distant country, causing a feeling of tiredness and disorientation. 

What is jet lag exactly?

All people have a biological clock , also called circadian rhythm , that controls our activity and our sensation of sleep . 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 becomes desynchronized with the environment. This out-of-synch feeling is more evident when five different time zones are crossed.

The Earth is divided into 24 different time zones. These begin at the Greenwich meridian, in London, United Kingdom: on each side are 12 time zones, each with a different time.

For this same reason, we notice the effects of jet lag much more when traveling from Spain or Europe to places like America, Asia and Oceania or vice versa: the further we go from our location, the more difference time there is. 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 longer if the destination is very far away.

Jet lag mainly affects sleep, causing: tiredness during the day; little energy; Sleeping problems; frequent nighttime awakenings and/or waking up very early; and feeling of clumsiness, irritability and lack of concentration, among others.

Also, although to a lesser extent, it can affect the digestive processes, considerably reducing appetite, producing indigestion and a feeling of general malaise.

How to prevent or beat it

The trick is to 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 you have to adapt to.

Once you get on the plane, try to sleep or stay awake, depending on whether it is a night or day flight. Set your watches (both analog and digital) to the new time zone before you arrive.

Sometimes, if the stay at 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 schedules. Adapting for just a couple of days can be counterproductive if you return home quickly.

There are other methods to relieve 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, melatonin supplements can be consumed (although always under the supervision of a doctor).

There is no jet lag on a BeZen mattress.

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