If you are traveling east-west and crossing several time zones, you are likely to be confronted with jet lag. Jet lag is caused by the disruption of your body clock; the body is desynchronized, which explains the other term for jet lag: desynchronosis. Tourists and businessmen alike are equally likely to be affected.

Jet lag is related to quick time-zone crossings occurring while traveling by plane. This is therefore a contemporary sickness linked with the development of commercial air plane transportation.

Usually jet lag is more serious when traveling from west to east, because the circadian rhythms that help synchronize the body’s activity are more disrupted than when travelling from east to west.

How serious: it depends on the individual. It is common to recover at the rate of one day per time zone. The condition is a temporary inconvenience.

How likely: all travelers are likely to be somehow affected by the loss of their natural rhythms but the extent of the disruption differs greaty from one individual to another.

How to get it: if you are traveling by plane and crossing Earth’s meridians, you are likely to get it as your circadian rhythms that balance your body activity on the basis of 24-hour periods are disrupted.

Symptoms: travelers may feel excited when they should fee sleepy and feel extreme fatigue when they should be awake. Symptoms of jet lag therefore include insomnia, headaches, or irritability.

How to avoid it: there is no specific treatment. Try to start your travel as fit and healthy as possible. During the flight, avoid caffeine and alcohol. During the first days after arriving at your destination, schedule activities that are not too exhausting and that enable you to adjust to your new environment.

How to treat it: you need to adapt to the new time zone as quickly as possible. The best strategy is to reset your watch to the time of your destination and try to stick to the new time. Go to bed at a normal time and avoid afternoon naps. Some people have recourse to medication such as melatonin or sleeping pills.

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