Want to Minimize Jet Lag? Here’s What the Doctors Order


If there is one thing that many of us in our industry experience more than our fair share of it’s jet lag. And it’s tough (and annoying) to try to be at your best when your confused body refuses to cooperate. That’s why I found this article from the Washington Post so very interesting and thought it worth sharing with you all.

Want to minimize jet lag? Here’s what the doctors order.
How a chemical from your brain could treat jet lag
Washington Post: August 30

We like to think we have control over our bodies, but the opposite is often true. Such is the case with circadian desynchrony, commonly known as jet lag. Exhaustion. Gastrointestinal discomfort. Headaches. Difficulty concentrating. Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. These common jet lag symptoms have the power to put a damper on a dream vacation or ambitious business trip. Unless you figure out how to game your own system.

Senior experimental psychologist John Caldwell has spent the bulk of his career researching the effects of sleep deprivation and sleep restriction, while also studying countermeasures that sleep-deprived people can use to function better. Much of his research was conducted within the military aviation community, and it helped fuel insights for the book “Fatigue in Aviation: A Guide to Staying Awake at the Stick,” which he co-wrote with J. Lynn Caldwell.

Caldwell explains that while our bodies are able to adjust to about one time zone change per day, jet lag sets in when we cross three or more of them, because it wreaks havoc on our circadian rhythms. That’s a fairly new phenomenon, historically speaking. “People now can fly from New York to Paris in nine, 10 hours, whereas in 1923 you did it on a ship and it took you six days to get over to Europe,” Caldwell says. “We just haven’t evolved to the point where we can rapidly change those rhythms, because it’s a relatively recent thing.”

Work to align your sleep schedule with your destination: Because your body can naturally adjust to about only one time-zone change per day, you’ll want to manually adjust your schedule, and that means changing your bedtime to be better mesh with the destination to which you’re traveling. Read More


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