This chapter describes the phenomenon of Jet Lag and the symptoms associated with it, which vary not only from person to person, but also according to how many times zones are crossed, and in which direction. Homeostatic and circadian influences on sleep and vigilance are explained on the basis of Borbély’s two-process model. Jet Lag is reasonably well explained scientifically today: rapid changes of time zones disturb the functioning of the body clock, which remains stubbornly set on departure times for a while. This can make sleep shallow or non-existent for substantial parts of the night while vigilance is less than optimal during parts of the day. Two main lines of research are described: one endeavors to accelerate the adaptation process; the other helps to fight insomnia and sleepiness between arrival and adjustment to the new time zone. Besides practical things that can be done to reduce the burden of Jet Lag, the adjustment process can be speeded up using bright light and melatonin. Sleeping pills and neurostimulants may be added to compensate for insomnia and sleepiness.
Part of the book: Circadian Rhythm