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Jet Lag

Jet lag is a sleep disorder common to travelers of all age groups. The disorder is caused by rapid travel across multiple time zones, in which the circadian system is not able to adjust. En-trained by the environmental cues of the locality when we travel across time zones into a different environment, our circadian rhythms need several days to readjust to the new locality depending on number of time zones we have passed.

Social jet lag is a disruption of the circadian rhythms with similar effects to the time zone travel. The phenomenon is called social jet lag because it is usually due to people socializing at night, and the side effects mirror jet lag since they have to live a life almost in a different time zone in comparison to their biological clock.

 

JET LAG TIED TO CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS

Jet lag is perhaps the most recognizable of circadian rhythms disruptions. It is also relatively easy to prevent. The symptoms of jet lag cause distress to an increasing number of travelers. Potentially they may experience disturbed sleep, daytime fatigue, poor performance in mental and physical tasks, decreased alertness and headache, depression, disorientation, loss of appetite, and gastrointestinal disturbance. Professional athletes travelling long distances through time zones tend to perform inadequately when their circadian rhythms are out of sync.
Business travelers, pilots, and flight attendants may experience frequent shifts to changing time zones, and it may be practical for them to remain on their home-based schedule.

Social Jet Lag

Social jet lag is defined as circadian rhythms disruption or misalignment imposed by our workday schedule. Our mealtime and sleep schedules are easily altered by our social obligations during the week. In the weekend we often compensate by sleeping longer hours. More than 85% of working adults and school-aged teenagers suffer from sleeping late and insufficient hours during the weekdays and oversleeping during the weekends. This daily disruption of the circadian rhythms and its effects on the body and behavior is comparable to real jet lag and can cause serious health risks. Studies into social jet lag have found that those suffering from the condition are more likely to be depressed, smoke, consume more caffeine and drink more alcohol than average.

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Stress in Athletes

Travel across multiple time zones is a common feature of the lifestyle of contemporary international sport competitors. This entails a disruption of the body's circadian timing mechanisms which can cause performance to be impaired during the period of adjustment to the new time zone. Apart from the decrements in mental and physical performance, competitive athletes are also exposed to the additional negative consequences of a shift from the optimal circadian window of performance. To be able to perform at top level, it is crucial athletes adjust their body’s circadian rhythms in tune to local time.  Athletes and their coaches and mentors should consider preparing for long-haul flights before traveling across multiple meridians. Circadian rhythms can be adjusted by the use of melatonin treatment and light therapy days before traveling.

 

 

Melatonin and Light Therapy

The speed of re-synchronization of circadian rhythms to the new time zone depends on multiple factors, including the number of zones crossed, the direction of travel, the length of the stay and the traveler’s ability to adapt to the new location.
Critically timed exposure to bright light and melatonin administration can help to reduce symptoms of jet lag. Traveling across several time zones necessitates resetting and adjusting to a new daylight schedule.  Natural light exposure has a major influence on the internal circadian clock and is the ideal mechanism for counteracting jet lag. Light therapy, including use of a light box, a lamp or a light, may be a viable option for those who travel frequently and are unable to have exposure to natural daylight. Light triggers the hormone serotonin which in short makes us awake, alert and happy.

Critically timed exposure to bright light and melatonin administration can help to reduce symptoms of jet lag.

Correlating the administration of melatonin with the new time zone may help travelers overcome symptoms. Melatonin serves as a "dark pulse" helping to induce nighttime behaviors. In the human body, sleep is initiated during a rise in the concentration of melatonin. Synthesized from serotonin in the pineal gland, melatonin helps to shift human circadian rhythms. An increase in melatonin alerts the body that “biological night” is starting.

The timing of light or melatonin administration should be tailored to the individual’s body clock at the time of departure to gradually shift the body clock to that of the new time zone. For example, travelling from west to east with a 6 hour delay, such as from New York City to Oslo, travelers should receive bright light on the day before and on the day of departure in order to adapt to the local time and new circadian rhythms. Evening light exposure delays circadian rhythms and should be avoided or you can block the blue spectrum of the light by wearing blue blocking glasses.

You also need to eat and sleep one hour earlier than the night before to entrain your circadian rhythms to the destination time zone. This process is reversed when traveling west meaning you have to use the glasses one hour later and sleep one hour later each night, granted that you get enough, 7-8 hours.

To reset your body clock when having social jet lag, you should try and get seven hours of sleep a night and resist the urge to sleep for longer at weekends.

 

HOW CIRCADIAN EYEWEAR CAN HELP JET LAG

Circadian Eyewear is a melatonin-treating medical device which eliminates the blue wavelengths from reaching the retina. Wearing Circadian Eyewear can help entrain the circadian rhythms, regulate sleep duration and quality, and help the timely production and secretion of melatonin.

It takes the circadian rhythms approximately one day per time zone to acclimate to the new environment. Traveling to the east, starting a few days before wear the Circadian Eyewear earlier by one hour each day to sleep and wake up earlier to adjust to the destination time zone. For example if you are travelling across 3 time zones towards east you need to use Circadian Eyewear from 3 nights prior one hour earlier each night than the night before. Travelling westward, do the opposite.

For social jet lag wear Circadian Eyewear similar way as to prevent travel jet lag. Determine your ideal time for sleep at night and gradually adjust your time by one hour each evening wearing Circadian Eyewear 2 hours before sleep.

Circadian Eyewear Collection
Circadian Eyewear

 

RESEARCH REGARDING JET LAG TIED TO CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS

Research from  PubMed

Melatonin and its relevance to jet lag.

Amber lenses to block blue light and improve sleep: a randomized trial.

Circadian rhythms, athletic performance, and jet lag.

Travel fatigue and jet-lag.

Jet lag and air travel: implications for performance.

Jet lag: therapeutic use of melatonin and possible application of melatonin analogs.

Jet lag, circadian rhythm sleep disturbances, and depression: the role of melatonin and its analogs.

Jet lag: minimizing it's effects with critically timed bright light and melatonin administration.

Light visor treatment for jet lag after westward travel across six time zones.

Jet Lag Current and Potential Therapies.

Experimental ‘Jet Lag’ Inhibits Adult Neurogenesis and Produces Long-Term Cognitive Deficits in Female Hamsters.

Research Sources