How to adapt to changing time zones

A broken state, insomnia, a feeling of chronic fatigue, a headache, and sometimes even loss of appetite - all this can appear during a jet lag. Yes, even in a healthy person. We decided to find out how easier it is to transfer the change of day and night, and contacted the head and leading researcher of the Center for Sleep Medicine, ISRC, Moscow State University named after MV Lomonosov and expert of the European Society of Sleep Researchers (ESRS) Alexander Kalinkin.

How to adapt to changing time zones

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- Before talking about changing the clock, you need to understand the nature of the process of falling asleep and waking up.

For this in the body, circadian (or circadian) rhythms are responsible, which change regardless of mental and physical activity. They are caused by natural changes - the presence or absence of light, that is, the "work" of the sun.

The endogenous rhythm of our body is 24.3 hours, it is slightly larger than the revolution of the Earth around its axis. Scientists have verified this through various experiments.

For example, they placed a person in a dark room and deprived him of light and time sources in order to check what his own daily rhythm would be like.

The biological clock of a person literally every day is forced to adapt to the earth's day. Man lives in the rhythm of planetary motion. If its rotation slows down, the duration of the biorhythm will increase. Therefore, all biological processes have an oscillating character.

So, circadian rhythms are associated with the rotation of the Earth and sunlight. Every day, the person’s internal rhythm is reconfigured to a 24-hour cycle. By the way, this rhythm corresponds almost exactly to the period of rotation of Mars.

In simple terms, the central biological clock is in the depths of the brain where the pineal gland command comes from to produce melatonin. This happens when, thanks to the biological clock, the body realizes that night is falling.

Further, the endocrine gland releases melatonin into the bloodstream and gives a signal to all body systems to prepare for the night. That is, melatonin, if correctly determined by its function, is the hormone of the night, not sleep. Having received this signal, the work of all systems - nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular and others - slows down and goes into night mode. Although at night, the brain can work more actively than during the day.

At the time of transition from one time zone to another in a person there is a mismatch of the internal rhythm, which works with a certain cyclical nature.

That is, the light signal for the body arrives at another time, and the body does not understand what is happening. He needs to adapt to new conditions. Therefore, with a time difference of four hours or more, a person may want to sleep during the day, and at night, on the contrary, be active.

If the time changes in one direction or another for one or two hours, then, most likely, the person will not notice the difference. This is especially true for residents of megacities, which are characterized by such a condition as a "social jet" (80% of students lie in the interval from 24:00 to 3:00).

A person living and working in Moscow, due to the rhythm of the city, lies much later than the inhabitants of the regions. When moving to the west, for example to Europe, it will easily adapt to local time. But when flying east, where time, unlike Russian, is moving forward, on the contrary, it will be difficult for him to do this.

How to adapt to changing time zones

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If the time changes to a large number of hours and a person is forced to stay in this mode for a long time, then it will take up to two weeks to coordinate the rhythms.

Therefore, if the time difference is, for example, nine hours, and you will live in this place for only a few days, try to live in the same schedule. Professional civil aviation pilots, who have to make more than ten transmeridian flights a month, try to lead an active life according to the time of their place of residence.

But if you are going to change several time zones for a period of two weeks, it is better to start preparing the body in advance. If possible, shift your schedule by a few hours in favor of a future stay. And having arrived in the city with a different time zone, try to go to bed not immediately, but only when the night begins there.

So the body adapts to new conditions much faster.

But remember that any lack of sleep (even one hour from an individual’s individual norm) affects his well-being, genome activity, nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular and other systems.

I am not against the use of products containing caffeine to cheer up. But drugs with melatonin will help to adapt the body faster to changing time zones (not to be confused with sleeping pills). They give a signal to the body that night has come.

To help the body get used to a new time, you can also use light. To quickly bring your biological clock to the right rhythm, it is best to stay in a lighted place for as long as possible. And in the dark, use melatonin so that its concentration matches night time.

It is better not to get involved in sleeping pills - you can quickly get used to it. But it all depends on what kind of person the task is.

If you can’t fall asleep in any way, then short-term use of sleeping pills is possible.

Get in within an hour a free consultation from an expert on the quality of your sleep, visit www. sleeplab. ru. To do this, just fill out the questionnaire.

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