Symptoms of Jet Lag

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A common affliction amongst travellers crossing time zones, jet lag is a condition which can affect the first few days of any trip. In most cases it doesn’t take too long for the body to adjust to its new location, however in that time you can experience a number of typical signs of jet leg. In this article we look at these symptoms and what you can expect to experience when you suffer from jet lag.

The symptoms

The signs and symptoms of jet lag will typically involve fatigue and tiredness. This will often lead to irritation and other cognitive symptoms like a loss of concentration and coordination. This tiredness will stem from the effects of jet lag on our body clock, and in particular on the levels of hormones like melatonin which are key to our ability to sleep when necessary.

People suffering from jet lag will often struggle to fall and stay asleep, in some cases these people may wake up earlier than usual. This disruption of a normal, healthy sleep pattern will often compound any existing fatigue and tiredness, and in cases of severe jet lag this can be quite unpleasant.

Interestingly the sleep disruptions experienced by people going through jet lag are influenced by the direction of travel, with people travelling from east to west experiencing certain changes to their sleep pattern, while those travelling west to east experiencing others.

If you are travelling towards the east then you are more likely to experience difficulties in falling asleep, while if you are travelling towards the west then you are more likely to wake up earlier than you should and multiple times during the night. This is because of the differences in terms of your exposure to light when you travel in either direction, and it is this environmental change which causes the hormonal imbalances responsible for jet lag.

Some other, less well known symptoms of jet lag include changes in bowel movements and appetite. Many people with jet lag will experience less frequent bowel movements, and may find that the consistency of their faecal matter will be unusual. Similarly, many sufferers of jet lag can experience a loss of appetite and a deterioration in their ability to enjoy food. These symptoms are usually temporary and pass along with the other symptoms of the condition, and they stem from the fact that hormones involved in regulating our body clocks are also involved in a wide array of other functions.

These are a collection of some of the standard symptoms affecting people suffering from jet lag, and while they are fairly commonplace, the condition will affect different people in different ways. Some may find that that they don’t experience some of these symptoms, while others will find that they do but to varying degrees of severity. Ultimately your body is unique and will respond to jet lag in its own, individual way, so while these are common symptoms to watch out for, you may experience your own, unique symptoms.

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