Jet lag, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a temporary sleep disorder that can affect anyone who quickly travels across multiple time zones. Jet lag is caused when your body's internal clock or circadian rhythms, which tell your body when to stay awake and when to sleep in the old time zone, are out of sync with cues from the new time zone, such as light exposure and dining times. www.mayoclinic.com
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Jet lag conditions include insomnia, waking early, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and muscle soreness. Typically traveler’s recovery time is one day per time zone crossed. Many of these are the same symptoms are the same as those experienced by shift workers. Jay Olson is a researcher at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver who has studied how magicians influence people in a bid to learn more about memory and decision-making. He has just published a study in Scientific American: Mind Matters on how to avoid jet lag.
“Most people experience jet lag when travelling across time zones,” Olson says. "Travelers need to figure out when to seek and avoid light based on their own trip and body clock/circadian rhythms." He says that with a few simple steps it may be completely preventable.
Mr. Olson says travelers who adjust their exposure to light prior to travel may bypass jet lag. They can calculate how to do that is the premise of his new, free website, www.jetlagrooster.com. This website lets people enter their trip details and get a personalized jet lag plan which they can email to their smart phone to pop up with reminders during the trip.