Factors Influencing Your Susceptibility to Jet Lag
Number of time zones crossed: Jet lag starts to be noticeable when you cross more than three time zones. The greater the number of zones crossed, the greater the severity of jet lag symptoms.
Direction of flight: The direction of your flight matters greatly. When you fly eastbound, or against the direction of the sun, jet lag tends to be more severe than when you fly west. You can actually take 50 percent longer to recover from jet lag after an eastward flight than after a westward flight of the same distance. When flying westward, you are allowing your body to follow its natural inclination to extend the day; remember, the body clock’s natural sleep-wake cycle is around twenty-five hours, not twenty-four. Because north-south and south-north flights do not involve time zone changes, they do not cause jet lag. You might feel physical or mental exhaustion after a long flight in these directions, but you will not be jet-lagged.
Age: The older you get, the more you are likely to experience the debilitating effects of jet lag. Babies under age three seem unaffected, children adapt better than their parents, and the elderly seem to have the most trouble.
Sleep debt: The amount of sleep debt you are carrying can affect your susceptibility to jet lag. In general, the better rested you are, the better you’ll fare when faced with jet lag.
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