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What is jetlag?
Being worn out and tired for days after arriving, generally
accompanied by a lack of concentration and motivation, especially for any
activity that requires effort or skill, such as driving, reading or
discussing a business deal. But even simple daily activities can become
harder, and one's capacity to truly enjoy a tourist holiday is
Having to return to check three times to see if a hotel room was left
locked or unlocked is a typical symptom reported by flight crews experiencing
jet-lag. Again, not good if you're on a business trip.
Becoming irrational or unreasonable
"Losing it" is another symptom reported by aircrew, which explains why
long-haul flights get very tedious near the end, and why going through customs
and immigration and getting to the hotel often seems like a real drama.
Broken sleep after arrival
Crossing time zones can cause you to wake during the night and then want
to fall asleep during the day at your new location. Your inbuilt circadian
rhythms have been disturbed, and it can take days for the body to readjust.
NASA estimates you need one day for every time zone crossed to regain
normal rhythm and energy levels. So a 5-hour time difference means you
may require five days to get back to normal! Can you afford that?
In addition to the above symptoms of jet-lag, the syndrome is made
worse by some common physical problems caused by being confined in an
airliner for hours:
This can cause headaches, dry skin and nasal irritation, and make you
more susceptible to any colds, coughs, sore throats and flu that are floating
round in the aircraft.
Discomfort of legs and feet
Limbs swelling while flying can be extremely uncomfortable, and in some
cases may prevent travellers wearing their normal shoes for up to 24 hours
A report from the World Health Organisation directly links jetlag
with problems of diarrhoea caused by microbiological contamination of
water or food, which it says affects about 50% of long-haul travellers.
"Factors such as travel fatigue, jet-lag, a change in diet, a different climate and a low level of immunity may aggravate the problem by reducing a traveller's resistance and making them more susceptible to this type of infection or poisoning," the report says.