Because of the increasingly negative aspects of air travel these days, if jet lag were a disease, we’d be in the middle of an epidemic. What was once an elegant, swift way to travel is now an ordeal full of delays, body scans, cancellations, lost luggage, high prices with costly add-ons and bad tempers.
They all contribute to the causes of jet lag. The original description of the condition was that it is brought on by passengers on jet planes who interrupt their usual sleep habits by booking flights at odd hours.
They need to stay awake or try to get quick naps during schedules that involve long overnight cross-country and international flights. Another apt desciption is that such late night flights are called-red eyes, because that’s usually the way passengers’ droopy, staring eyes look when they finally get to their destinations.
Today, there are more and more reasons for jet lag today. In naming just a few examples, each has its own way of bringing on the zombie-like condition.
1. Mechanical problems made your first flight late. You just missed your connecting flight, which would have had you home in just another hour. It’s now three in the morning, and the next flight to your destination won’t leave for five more hours.
Jet lag will cause you to spend those hours curled up awake on a waiting room bench. You can’t sleep, because a dozen wailing babies all around you are also suffering from jet lag.
2. You booked a red-eye flight because the fare was much lower, and you’re usually able to curl up in your cheap seat and get some sleep. However, as soon as you board and get comfortable, your 300-pound seatmate plops down and overflows into your space. This not only makes sleep impossible, but also causes your entire four-hour flight experience to feel as if you’ve been packed into a sardine can.
3. Jet lag doesn’t just come on from lack of sleep alone. Another cause is change from normal eating habits during flight schedules. You can see prime examples of this when your airline or airport waiting room seat is next to mothers with childen.
It’s after midnight and the wide-awake children are not only hungry, but restless because this isn’t their usual mealtime. You know it will take hours to settle them down, and everyone involved will arrive at final destinations suffering from jet lag.