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Trick Your Body Clock to Beat Jet Lag

by Kathy Jones on March 13, 2012 at 8:29 PM
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 Trick Your Body Clock to Beat Jet Lag

Jet lag can lead to daytime fatigue, headache, stomach troubles and insomnia, although it can manifest differently in different people.

Jet lag is a short-term sleep disorder caused by multi time-zone travel that disturbs traveller's internal clock - or circadian rhythm - putting it out of sync with the external environment.

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This clock tells our body when it is time to wake and when it is time to sleep.

Experts have said that the more time zones crossed, the more likely a person may experience jet lag.

However, the body can shift itself back to normal about one day per time zone, though its interaction with light - both natural sunlight and artificial light - can help speed up the process.
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According to Harvard sleep physician Lawrence Epstein, co-author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night's Sleep, bright sunlight or blue light delivered at the right time - early in the day if you've travelled east and later in the afternoon if you've travelled west - can quicken adaptation, News.com.au reported.

He has also recommended the hormone melatonin.

It could be taken in the evening, if a person is trying to reset his or her body clock to an earlier time and in the morning if he is trying to reset his clock to later in the day.

This works by the shift of light and dark in the natural 24-hour cycle, 'tricking' the body clock into believing that it is earlier or later than it is.

As light diminishes throughout the day and dark sets in, the pineal gland - an endocrine gland in the brain - releases melatonin, which signals the brain to start its decent to rest and sleep.

Conversely, the light stops the release of this hormone.

Once the travellers' circadian pattern is thrown off by time-zone jet lag, reintroducing these naturally occurring therapies at the appropriate time helps accelerate their bodies' return to its normal rhythm.

Source: ANI
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