10 Jet Lag Symptoms

By james
Reviewed: Dr. Mera
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The world is a big place. When it is daytime in one place, it will be nighttime on the other side of the world. Every time the Earth makes a full rotation, which takes 24 hours, countries will undergo cycles of day and night. This creates distinct time zones from one part of the world to another.

The jet engine has made long-distance travel fast and affordable. This means that a lot of people will find themselves traveling to different time zones, quickly.

Our bodies operate according to the circadian cycle, which is a kind of biological clock. These clocks help to dictate how our bodies function, but traveling between time zones quickly can leave the clock out of sync. This is a phenomenon known as jet lag, which can come with a range of symptoms.

Symptom #1: Waking Early

Most of us need around 8 hours of sleep every night in order to be fully fresh the following day. This can vary from person to person, and some of us also find it easier to get to sleep than others. Regardless of how long you need, those of us who are fortunate enough will sleep all the way through until it is time to wake up.

This pattern can be completely thrown out in people that have jet lag. Our internal body clock can wake us up even when we have not had enough sleep. This leaves us tired throughout the rest of the day and feeling as though we need to get back to bed.

Jet Lag

Symptom #2: Malaise

Malaise is a general feeling that you just don’t feel right. It can be difficult to put your finger on exactly why you feel bad; you just know that you are not 100%. It can be caused by a wide range of diseases whereas it can also be caused by something like jetlag.

People with jetlag will often feel as though they just don’t feel like doing anything because they don’t feel at all good. The good news is that the condition should hopefully clear up after the jet lag has passed. If you feel as though something is wrong other than just jet lag then you should consider speaking with a doctor.

Symptom #3: Irritability

The people around us can be very testing at times. There are some people that insist on making things harder than they need to be, while some can just be downright horrible to other people, making even the most patient people irritable. Sometimes, though, we can be irritable even when there is no reason to be.

If you are suffering from jet lag then you may find that you are far easier irritated than usual. Even the slightest of perceived digressions can annoy you immensely, and it can be difficult to be around other people in general. It can be a good idea to try and grab a book and find a quiet place to be alone until the jet lag has passed.

Jet Lag

Symptom #4: Difficulty Working

People suffering from jet lag will usually be sleep-deprived. The lack of proper sleep will cause a severe decline in their ability to perform at work due to cognitive impair.

Fortunately, this problem will be fixed once the sleep deprivation ends.

Symptom #5: Insomnia

Most of us have a sleep pattern that we will adhere to pretty much every day, except maybe for weekends. This pattern is largely down to our own biological body clocks that decide when we feel tired and when it is time to wake up. If you have jet lag, however, then these patterns can be sent out of sync.

It doesn’t matter how tired they might be feeling, people with jet lag will often have difficulty sleeping. They can have difficulty falling asleep and also have difficulty staying asleep. Sleeping patterns should hopefully return to normal within a few days.

Jet Lag

Symptom #6: Headache

One symptom of not having had enough sleep is a headache and, as such, it is also a fairly common symptom of jet lag. The headache in these circumstances is often described as a dull ache, and that the head generally feels heavy.

The headache should hopefully not be too unbearable, but it can still contribute to a difficult day. Painkillers may be able to help, but what you really need is for your circadian cycles to readjust. Most people can ride it out for a few days, although a doctor may be able to help if necessary.

Symptom #7: Daytime Sleepiness

Almost every person suffering from jet lag will experience increased daytime sleepiness.

It is a common symptom associated with circadian rhythm disorders and it is explained due to the lack of proper sleep experienced by these patients.

Jet Lag

Symptom #8: Stomach Problems

Our circadian cycle does not only affect when we want to sleep and when we want to wake, but it also affects our systems such as our digestive system. As such, if our circadian cycle is out of sync, then our digestive system can also have difficulty functioning. This can be quite uncomfortable and also sometimes embarrassing.

If you do have jetlag, then you may well experience problems with your digestive system. You can get cramps, while you may also experience diarrhea and/or constipation. Speak with a doctor and they may be able to prescribe something to help soothe the symptoms if needed.

Symptom #9: Increased Alertness

Our circadian rhythm helps us to be alert and to rest when we need to. Therefore, it is only logical to assume that when we have a circadian rhythm disorder like jet lag, our alertness will be impaired.

Patients suffering from jet lag will usually find themselves being at their peak state of alertness during unconventional hours.

Symptom #10: Depression

Depression is a potentially serious medical condition that can make people feel terrible about their lives and about life in general. It can affect anybody, including the strongest amongst us, and can even take lives. There are numerous things that can contribute to depression, and jet lag is one of them.

While jetlag can lead to depression, it should thankfully only be mild. It should also be short-lived, disappearing once the patient’s circadian cycle has been restored. Regardless, depression is a very serious condition and should never be taken too lightly. Do not hesitate to get medical assistance if you, or anybody else, is having suicidal thoughts.

Jet Lag

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