Jet Lag



Every Penn State student can relate to the stressful times of move in day on campus come the end of summer vacation.  During that chaotic time, there is an added stress that many out-of-state and international students may face: jet lag.  As a student from California, I have experienced this first hand when arriving back to the beautiful State College after the summer break.  I can easily stay up as late as the rest of my friends at night, but when it comes to those morning classes, being in class at 9:05 suddenly feels like a class at 6:05 am (and any college student knows how beneficial those extra three hours of sleep can feel).

When researching jet lag, I found this video to be very informative.  Although I had felt the symptoms of jet lag before, I never really knew what it was that was being affected in your body.  According to "Ezine Articles," jet lag is simply the disruption of your internal body clock or circadian rhythm (  This rhythm is what coordinates your sleeping schedule.  Jet lag occurs when you travel because your body is crossing over time zones faster than your body's internal clock can change.  With that being said, there truly would not be any issues if the rapid change had no effect on your body.  This is why jet lag becomes such a burden on travelers.  Jet lag can often make you feel tired, nauseous, dehydrated, or disoriented and can come with common side effects such as a headache, dehydration, and impaired coordination.

Knowing this, I thought that some questions to ponder would be "Does everyone experiences jet lag?"  "Do kids feel the effects of jet lag?"  When I was younger, I travelled a lot from the west to the east coast mainly to visit family and to vacation.  Personally, I never recall being affected by jet lag when I was younger.  As I have gotten older, however, jet lag has increasingly been an issue when I travel.  Especially when I move to school and back, it takes me as long as a week to get into rhythm of the current time zone. 

Because the side effects of jet lag are so troublesome to so many travelers, many want to know what kinds of things can be done to prevent jet lag?  Many things have been said to be able to prevent jet lag even before it happens.  Professionals recommend the following:

·         Get extra sleep before a flight. 

·         Eliminate excess stresses while traveling. 

·         Exercise often

While on the plane, simple things can be done to help ease the stresses of jet lag while flying, including:

·         Wearing comfortable clothing

·         Stretching often

·         Drinking lots of water

·         Loosening shoes and circling ankles to keep blood flow in feet and legs

Jet lag has always been something that intrigues me.  As I commonly travel to and from the west coast and the east coast, I often wonder how jet lag affects other Penn State students from countries around the world.  Any international students out there in SC200 that have had experiences with jet lag?


I've had "reverse" jet lag during vacations to the West coast. I live in New Jersey, and most of my vacations were in states like Pennslvania, New York, and Florida, so it never really affected me until my trips to Nevada, Arizona, and California. I found that because 10:00 PM felt like 7:00 PM, I couldn't sleep very well during all the nights I stayed at the hotels. Did you ever have this reverse situation?

This is a very good blog! I have traveled a lot, when I was younger and I used to fly to Colorado to go skiing I do not remember ever getting jet lagged for some reason.

I remember going to England and that really screwed me up. For some reason when I went over to England I had tons of energy and we ended up staying up the first night because we weren't tired... which wasn't the smartest idea since we went touring the next day. However, when we came back to the states we all just passed out. I heard I even fell off the couch because I was so tired.... don't remember that at all.

I think it is really interesting how there are physical effects of changing time zones. It's weird to think that we can experience things like headaches simply because of changing time zones. I am interested in the intricacies of this process. I've never been to the west coast so I've never experienced Jet Lag. I did go on a cruise though which involved a time change (even though it was only to Bermuda) and nothing happened. I wonder if the atmosphere we're in plays a role. Obviously it wouldn't be called Jet Lag on a ship but I wonder why being on a ship doesn't have an equivalent effect. Possibly being suspended on water prevents this from happening? This is something that should be studied to form a reasonable conclusion because I think that there is a correlation between the symptoms of Jet Lag solely being related to flying thousands of feet in the air. We cannot say that Jet Lag could only be caused by flying though because it's possible that it can be caused by cruising as well if one goes throuugh enough time zones.

The idea of long distance travel and in conjunction with the physical toll on the human body is a very interesting topic. For myself, an avid traveler that has been on nine cruises (only once having to fly from east coast to west coast when I went on my Alaskan cruise), I've flown a lot more than the average person. When I did fly coast to coast, I did experience . One thing that would interesting to figure out would be if jet lag affects certain people more than others (males vs females, young vs old)

Also, Eric, the reason why we don't feel effects when crossing time zones on cruises is because you are not thousands of feet in the air causing pressure. I would guess the only physical effects you get on cruises are the occasional "seasickness"! Here is a good medical explanation to jet lag that is actually easy to comprehend and decipher.

I've traveled just up and down the East Coast and experienced some wicked jet la, or at least symptoms of jet lag. While I understand the effects of going a couple of time zones away in a matter of hours is probably worse, I wonder if jet lag has more to do with the increase in altitude your body goes through?

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