The Causes of Jet Lag After a Long Travel

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Nowadays, we have an easy and accessible way to go far from west to east or vice versa by plane. Traveling far is not a habitual activity for people who have a domestic job or a general nine to five worker but for a specific job such as flight attendants, pilots, or travel influencers, it is a day-to-day or weekly need for them. When we travel across several countries with different time zones, we are more likely to experience jet lag. Jet lag will occur due to our body’s clock still synced to our original time zone, furthermore, sunlight and dehydration also cause us to experience jet lag.

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Jet lag is a psychological condition in which our body’s circadian rhythms, or also known as the body clock going through a different time zone due to travel rapidly by aircraft. The condition may last for a few days before the traveler is adjusted to the time zone where he or she arrives. Airline pilots, aircraft crews, and travelers experience this condition as a special issue because it is a part of their job. The cause of jet lag is the inability of the body to immediately adjust to the time in a different zone (“Jet lag” MN) Thus, when we travel from Jakarta at noon and arrives in LA at midnight, our body continues to operate on Jakarta time zone which will cause us insomnia, not being able to sleep the whole night. There is also a change in bathroom schedule and results in experiencing diarrhea, the brain is also confused with the disorientation through the juggle schedule.

According to Medical News Today, The body clock is driven by an internal time-keeping system, but is affected by external environmental factors, such as the light-dark cycle of night and day. Our 24-hour cycles in the biochemical, physiological, and behavioral process of our bodies which regulate our daily activities, such as sleep, waking, eating, and body temperature is called Circadian rhythms. When the sunlight exposure has different timing due to a different time zone, the body is confused on how to adjust to these changes. In simple words, for example, the body is used to have some sun at noon but due to flights on a different time zone, we departed at 6 am in the morning and arrived at midnight so on that day there is no sun exposure at all for our body to receive. Although this probably does not become a problem if only experienced for a day, the problems may arise if it experienced for several days trip.

Another cause of jet lag, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 found that air cabin pressurized to 8,000 feet lower oxygen in the blood, making passengers feel uncomfortable and dehydrated. Well, this condition will disrupt our normal body system because the amount of oxygen going to the brain might be reduced. The air in an airplane cabin is different from natural ground air, it is drier so drinking water before, during, and after the flight and to avoid caffeine and alcohol is highly advisable. Furthermore, the effects of jet lag are many, including common fatigue after flight, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal disturbances, such as diarrhea or constipation, sleepiness or insomnia, irritability, confusion, and mild depression.

In conclusion, the difference in time zone, sunlight exposure, air pressure and dehydration may help explain why jet lag occurred to people while traveling far. To prevent this sickness, we can always prepare ourselves before, during, and after travel by taking light exercises, consume medication, and keeping our body fit for what we are going to experience. In fact, if we are not required to travel far we do not have to do this at all. Sometimes staying at home or around the neighborhood is not a bad choice.

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