Deirdre Budd’s Blog

Posts Tagged ‘jet lag

Sleep is a natural body process. Within our brain lies a body clock which is cued to sleep when darkness falls. The genetic make up of our bodies means that for some, where parents or grandparents have sleep disorders, we and possibly our children may also have sleep disorders. It has been proved that we can affect this body clock. We have learned to work  and play after dark, because we can extend “light” with electricity. Once we develop a rhythm we can stick to that rhythm and teach our internal clock to follow this. This is what allows shift workers to manage in “un-natural” work patterns.

Recently “jet lag” was looked at as a sleep management issue.  There  was a broadcast on television looking at two athletes who regularly travel from the UK to the USA. The return flight brings issues of sleep disturbance for a few days afterwards so two different approaches were tried. One flew back living on the “bodyclock setting” of the USA, eating the in flight meals and drinking as he wished. The second had no inflight meal and drank only water. Going without food until his return and then having a high carbohydrate meal at a UK mealtime he slept well overnight and woke the next day without any feelings of Jetlag.

The second, who had travelled on the same flight and eaten the inflight meal, returned to the UK and stayed up for a few hours. Had a high protein meal and went to bed at his “normal in the UK ” bedtime, was still experiencing adjustment problems for  the next two days. This was certainly not a scientific study but it does underline the fact that we can “trick” our internal clock into allowing us to alter our wake/sleep pattern to suit our lifestyles.

Sleep disorders can be improved if not resolved by working to change behaviour patterns before they become too entrenched in our psyche.

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