Jet lag

Most people who travel long distances experience and suffer from jet lag. The symptoms of jet lag can be fatigue, indigestion, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, bad mood, less energy and general malaise. New studies estimate that jet lag can also cause memory loss, shrinking of certain parts of the brain and a negative impact on blood pressure. These symptoms can be disruptive for the first several days in the new time zone. Jet lag, among other things, makes athletes, diplomats and business travellers less productive and more prone to making mistakes. And for the tourist, jet lag means that the journey cannot be enjoyed optimally during the first week.


Jet lag and the body's internal clock
Jet lag can disrupt more than 50 physiological and psychological rhythms, and the symptoms of jet lag can last for days while the body's internal clock slowly adjusts to the new time zone.

Jet lag is caused by a disruption of the body's internal clock, which is a small cluster of brain cells that controls the circadian rhythm and a number of biological functions. This disturbs e.g. mealtimes and sleep. The body's internal clock is designed to create an even rhythm between daylight and darkness. The internal clock gets out of sync when daylight and darkness are at completely different times in the new time zone than the body is used to. That is why you get jet lag.

Without aids, it takes the body at least one day per time zone to synchronise the circadian rhythm and it can take up to 1-2 weeks before the circadian rhythm is completely synchronised. Unfortunately, jet lag gets worse with age, especially when you are over 50 years old.

Jet lag and time zones
The more time zones you cross, especially when flying east, the worse the experience of jet lag will be for sure. Jet lag occurs when you travel too far too fast. This is because the body's internal clock is adapted to the usual time zone.

Jet lag and sleep glasses
There is an easy and side-effect-free way in which air travellers can reduce the time it normally takes to adjust to a new time zone.

By using a combination of sleep glasses and a light visor on the day of departure and possibly the following day according to a simple schedule, the symptoms of jet lag can be significantly reduced. This ensures that you get the most out of your trip, whether it is for business or a holiday.

If you wear sleep glasses, the body thinks it is night, and the production of melatonin, the body's natural sleep aid, starts. In this way, you can regulate the start time for melatonin production yourself.

It is actually relatively easy to handle the transition to the new time zone and eliminate most of the unpleasantness of jet lag. Everything depends on knowing the exact period of time to either avoid light or to seek out light on the day of departure and possibly the following day. Seeking out or avoiding light at the wrong times can worsen jet lag.

Jetlag Guide
On the basis of specific information about travel plans and individual sleeping patterns, the air traveller can get a Jetlag Guide on this website with instructions on when he/she should or should not seek light.

When the instructions state that you must look for light, you must spend time outdoors if possible. If it is dark outside, the weather is bad, or you are sitting on the plane, you can use a light visor to achieve the necessary stimulation.

When the Jetlag Guide states that you must avoid light, conversely, if possible, spend time indoors in a darkened room. If the room is illuminated or you are sitting in the plane with the light on, you can use sleep glasses to achieve the necessary stimulation.

If you use our Jetlag Guide and a combination of sleep glasses and light visor, you can adapt to a new time zone within 1-2 days instead of the normal one week or more.

Research regarding jet lag

Below are a number of summaries/abstracts of scientific trials dealing with jet lag. The abstracts originate from medical records (copyright).