Overcoming jet lag is not too difficult for those of us who jet off around the world infrequently, perhaps once or twice a year on holiday or for the occasional business trip, but for aircrews and regular long-haul fliers, jet lag can bring in its wake a number of health problems which can become virtually permanent.
Long haul travelers will be familiar with the disruption to their sleep pattern and the insomnia that can result from a long trip, as well as such things as irritability, changes in mood, gastro-intestinal problems and difficulty in processing information. But, for the very frequent flyer these, normally transient symptoms, become a part of everyday life and are often joined by menstrual cycle problems for women and even by short-term psychiatric disturbances for some people.
The major factors in influencing the degree of jet lag experienced, apart from the frequency of travel, are the distances involved, the direction of travel and your age.
If you are regularly traveling across just two or three time zones then any affects are likely to very mild. However, once you start crossing more than three time zones, and particularly when you get up to frequently traveling across six or more time zones, symptoms begin to increase markedly.
Jet lag symptoms are also more marked when you are traveling east and tend to affect you less when flying west. If you are traveling from London to Singapore on holiday for example you will experience more jet lag on arrival in Singapore at the start of your holiday than you will in London when you return.
As a general rule when traveling east you can expect jet lag to last for several days and a good guide is roughly two thirds of the number of time zones crossed. For example, if you cross six time zones you can expect jet lag to affect you for up to four days. Traveling west jetlag can be expected to last for about half this time.
Age is also a significant factor when it comes to jet lag and, as you get older, you will find that you are increasingly affected by jet lag.
There is no such thing as a true jet lag cure but there is a great deal that can be done to help to reduce the symptoms of jet lag.