What Causes Jet Lag

Most people have had jet lag before: You travel to another time zone and when you try to get acclimated and do some sight-seeing or head to a work obligation, you find yourself feeling exhausted. Aside from the obvious time differences, there are many causes behind jet lag. Here are just a few of the main reasons why you experience jet lag while traveling.
  • Jet lag is also called "desynchronosis" or "flight fatigue".
  • The main reason people experience jet lag is because of air travel across time zones. Because you could be 7, 10 or even 24 hours apart from your familiar, home time zone, it's understandable that you would feel a bit off when you arrive at your destination.
  • In many cases, it takes days or even up to a week for the body's internal clock to adjust to the new time zone, as it involves regulating your sleep schedule and often going without sleep for quite some time.
  • The most common symptoms of jet lag are extreme fatigue (due to lack of sleep in a time zone that is "behind" your own) and insomnia (due to forced sleep in a time zone that is "ahead" of your own).
  • Other side effects of jet lag include anxiety, constipation, diarrhea, confusion, dehydration, headache, irritability, nausea, indigestion, difficulty concentrating, sweating, coordination problems, dizziness, daytime sleepiness, malaise (a general feeling of being unwell) and even memory loss.
  • As a general rule, your body will usually adjust to one or two new time zones per day. Because of this, the farther away you've traveled, the longer it will take your body to get used to the new time zone.
  • People with heart, stress and other conditions may experience more severe jet lag than others. However, jet lag is generally not hazardous to your health and usually goes away after a day or two.