Jet Lag Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Jet Lag and cite four references that provide current information.

Review current literature form several sources.

Jet lag is one of the most common problems among domestic and international air travelers, causing a variety of physical and mental problems.

Jet lag is a common problem among air travelers, often affecting as many as 94% of long distance travelers. The most common cause of jet lag is rapid transit across a variety of worldwide time zones. The more time zones a person crosses, the greater the disruption of the internal body clock, which governs temperature, heartbeat, blood pressure, and physiological patterns, often resulting in disorientation and mental and physical fatigue. It is also a well-known fact among frequent fliers that their resistance is lowered, making them more susceptible to colds, flu, and stomach upsets.

Many travelers have experienced the adverse affects of flying long distances or over long periods of time. Its similar to extreme fatigue, feeling out of sorts and often, accompanied by physical discomfort that includes dehydration and leg and feet discomfort. Couple that with disorientation, lack of concentration and motivation and disrupted sleep and you've got jet lag.

According to a pamphlet published by the U.S. Government, " After years of study, and continued suffering, jet lag, like the common cold is still with us. It is so prevalent that many studies are ongoing and several books have been written to advise jet passengers on dealing with it. A few things are finally known and most researchers agree on a number of causes and remedies.

We have learned that the human body functions in accordance with a sensitive and complex internal clock that sets up circadian rhythms. Our environment and our habits provide the timing for these rhythms and act in concert, producing our daily physical schedule. Jet travel, however, takes us across time zones, on transmeridian flights, far too swiftly for this body clock to adjust."

Of course, this is a common problem that has been studied over the years with numerous conclusions and advice. J. Ricker Polsdorfer, author of an article on jet lag, defines the condition as marked by fatigue and irritability that is caused from air travel when you change time zones.

One interesting finding, resulting from in-flight studies where control groups were given placebos, indicated that an over-the-counter substance called melatonin works to reduce the effects of jet lag. Melatonin is a hormone that our bodies secrete into the blood stream when its time to sleep. The absence of light as well as the timing of our meals governs the release. For this reason it is important to take melatonin pills not during flight but at nightfall once you reach your destination. Melatonin is a potent, free radical scavenger and like other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, it protects against aging. In the laboratory it has been shown to enhance the immune system and retard the growth of certain tumors. Light suppresses melatonin but at nightfall the body releases it making you sleepy. Melatonin levels start to rise at the onset of night and peak around twelve midnight. From there the levels drop off until morning. The pills are available over-the-counter and in health food stores but have not yet received official FDA approval. Certain studies showed that males given melatonin were able to sleep within five to six minutes, while men given a placebo took twenty minutes fall asleep or longer.

Basically, jet lag is the disruption of the inner body clock and from that stems all of the other problems associated with how we feel when we have jet lag. Jet lag usually lasts from 24-48 hours after travel has taken place. In that short time period, the body adjusts to the time changes, and with enough rest, it returns to normal circadian rhythm. A lot of the things we can do to prevent jet lag are common sense and will help to reset your body clock.

According to the U.S. Government, the following advice will help you avoid and/or recover from jet lag.

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The preparation for a long trip often means you're tired before you begin. If at all possible, get enough rest in the days prior to your trip,…

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