Jet lag is a disturbance of the sleep-wake rhythm or rather of the internal (biological) clock. In medical terms, jet lag is called a chronobiological disorder resulting from passing through a number of time zones in a short period of time. It is also called a "transatlantic hangover," which accurately reflects its effects on the body.
The biology of jet lag
The body is used to a 24-hour rhythm (circadian rhythm), with the body producing melatonin in the evening to induce sleepiness. The production of melatonin is the precursor to sleep. When the night and day is reversed due to different time zones, the body is disrupted and does not produce enough melatonin. Melatonin causes us to become sleepy, so it is an important hormone for good sleep. Interestingly, evening people generally seem to suffer less from jet lag than morning people.
Health problems due to jetlag. Jet lag can cause various health problems, these vary from person to person. This depends very much on factors such as age, height, weight and sensitivity.
The most common complains include:
- sleep disorder (falling asleep badly, sleeping through and waking up tired);
- headaches or migraines;
- Appetite disturbance (much or little);
- fatigue (decreased energy and concentration);
In addition to these health issues, jet lag also undermines the immune system (decreased immunity), making the body more susceptible to disease.
Differences in jet lag
The degree of jet lag problems depends on the number of time zones passed, westbound (clockwise) or eastbound (counterclockwise) and of course departure and arrival times. Jet lag symptoms should be distinguished from symptoms (headaches, dry and irritated mucous membranes) resulting from a long flight (north-south) without passing time zones.
Practical tips; how to combat jet lag
First of all, there are a number of things you can do yourself before you travel.
Some practical tips:
- leave well rested
- Do not drink caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, etc.).
- eat as lightly as possible, preferably vegetables, before you leave
- Immediately upon arrival, adapt to the day and night rhythm of the destination. Do not go to sleep during the day, this will prolong the jet lag.
- Sleep in complete darkness (use a sleeping mask for this purpose).
- Use earplugs if there is too much ambient noise and/or if your partner snores.
Natural supportive substances
Our sleeping plasters contain natural ingredients that also work very positively with jet lag. The absorption by the body is 4x stronger than oral products because the ingredients are directly absorbed into the bloodstream and do not have to be digested. In addition, the plaster releases the active substances gradually over 8 hours, so that there are no peaks and troughs in the blood level. Also discover the convenience and the fact that they are much more economical to use.
Several scientific studies show that magnesium plays an important role in sleep. Magnesium is a common mineral and every cell in the human body needs this mineral. Magnesium is involved in the regulation of the stress hormone cortisol and magnesium reduces cortisol production. Research shows that when magnesium is in short supply, sleep is lighter and more restless. Scientific studies have shown that magnesium stimulates the body to produce its own melatonin.
Potassium also plays an important role in sleep. Potassium is an essential mineral salt also called "the good salt. It is best known for its role in regulating blood pressure, and it works with magnesium to improve sleep, among other things. Potassium deficiency can cause fatigue and insomnia. When you think of potassium, bananas quickly come to mind. While bananas are a pretty good source of potassium, it is not the best source. Bananas contain about 10% of the recommended daily allowance, which is quite low.
5-HTP or L-tryptophan
5-HTP stands for 5-hydroxytryptophan and this is an amino acid. This substance causes the production of serotonin and this stimulates the production of melatonin. There is ample evidence that taking 5-HTP helps with insomnia because it has a sedative effect. However, you should not use 5-HTP as a "main ingredient" for insomnia. Increasing serotonin levels can cause other substances such as dopamine to be reduced. 5-HTP may also enhance the effects of antidepressants, for example, which cause an excess of serotonin. The use of 5-HTP is better if it is part of a formulation in a small amount. Then it can enhance other substances or act as a nudge.
Zinc is a trace mineral and this is a mineral that you only need a very small amount of. Numerous studies have been conducted showing that high zinc levels can be directly linked to better sleep. In addition, zinc can help you improve both sleep duration and sleep quality.