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September 10, 2011 / Dr. Toad

Jet-lagged

I was up at 5am this morning in Boston MA where I landed last night after just over a week in Europe. Not too bad of a wake-up time, could be much worse.

But sitting alone in the dark waiting for the world to come around prompts the googling of jet-lag-related science. Desynchronosis is the medical term, and it’s a physiological condition, thankfully temporary for travelers, where the body’s circadian rhythms are out of whack with the environment. But it’s not just the primary brain clock that gets screwed with fast transmeridian (east-west or west-east) travel. There are clocks at the cellular level and each bodily organ may adjust to the new time zone differently, which perhaps contributes to the symptoms.

The online resources and recommendations aren’t very inspiring. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of solid knowledge out there when it comes to jet lag. It makes hamsters stupid (when it’s severe and chronic). It has been regulated on a molecular level in mice by changing their cortisol levels. Some people swear by melatonin, but there’s scarce evidence out there of it working reliably and nobody agrees on the dosage. Some people take Viagra and say it’s a remedy against jet lag. And apparently if you can make yourself eat nothing for less than a day, you can override your circadian clock with a resetting of your secondary “shit I’m starving, when’s breakfast?!” clock.

Oh look, it’s light out. Later!

Pixar's Day and Night

 

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