Brian Johnston over at Traveller looks at jet lag, or desynchronosis and dispels some of the quackery surrounding it.
It is caused by the disruption of our circadian rhythms, which regulate sleep, body temperature and blood pressure, and operate on a 24-hour cycle. Circadian rhythms are regulated by melatonin, which is produced in the brain’s light-sensitive pineal gland, and light exposure is key to alleviating jet lag symptoms.
Bright natural light is more effective than artificial light, and blue light from computers and mobile phones can reduce melatonin levels and prevent sleep. Jet lag remedies are quackery, but a melatonin supplement taken close to bedtime can help. Pre-flight preparation, exercise, hydration and avoiding napping can also reduce jet lag symptoms.
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