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Who gets jet-lag?
Almost everyone on a long flight suffers jetlag to some degree.
Studies by Upjohn and Condé Nast have shown 93-94% of long-haul travellers
experience it, and a New Zealand study showed a similar proportion of flight
attendants on international flights suffer from its effects despite being
accustomed to long-haul travel.
It affects passengers even more than the flight professionals, firstly
because they are generally less accustomed to the factors causing jet-lag,
and secondly because they are confined to a cramped space for long
periods. There are also other factors such as the lack of fresh air in
Not all people to the same degree
Young children often seem immune. People who normally stick to a rigid
daily routine or are bothered by changes of routine, are often the worst
sufferers. People whose normal lives involve highly varied routines can
often adjust their circadian rhythms better and adapt to a disruption of
normal eating and sleeping patterns. People who get to sleep easily may also
cope better with the adjustment.
People crossing multiple time zones
The length of the flight is not the critical issue. The most important
single factor is how many time zones you cross. People can suffer jetlag
just crossing the United States from New York to Los Angeles (three hours' time
change) but would be much less affected by flying from New York to Bogota in
Colombia, a north-south flight of even longer duration. But there are also other
factors besides crossing time zones that contribute to jet-lag, and these may be
experienced even on north-south flights.
People in poor pre-flight condition
If you are not fit, rested and healthy you will probably suffer more jetlag than
others on the same flight. Stress and loss of sleep before your trip will will make it
worse. Pre-flight partying and over-consumption of alcohol will do the same.