Did Columbus get Ship Lag?

The answer is most probably NOT.  Blame it on the Wright Bros. and Howard Hughes for making air travel possible and readily accessible.  Science has a Latin name for it, why wouldn’t they?

Desynchronosis, is a physiological condition which results from alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms. (Wiki)

A tiny part of the brain called the hypothalamus acts like an alarm clock to trigger various body functions such as hunger, thirst, and sleep pattens while regulating body temperature and blood pressure. Fibers in the optic nerve help the mind keep track of time via perceptions of light and darkness. So, when your eye perceives dawn or dusk earlier or later than usual, the hypothalamus may trigger activities that the rest of the body is not ready for, and ye olde jet lag sets in.

The disorientation is the result of crossing too many time zones, too rapidly.  The body and mind struggle to cope with the changes.  The symptoms include fatigue and general tiredness, inability to sleep at night, loss of concentration, loss of drive, headaches and the quite awesome 4am guaranteed wake-up.  But, a ten-hour flight from London to Johannesburg should not cause jet lag in the same way as the flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg.  East to West and Longitudinal travel (North to South) is much easier on the body as the goal is to keep on relatively the same time zone or ahead of it.

Traveling tens of thousands of miles a year does not make it any easier, but  I subscribe to the theory of a very good friend – you are where you are, so deal with it!  Thus it becomes a mental thing.  Don’t say it is XX o’clock at home, because you are not home.  Get in phase with the new environment immediately, even if you did not get on schedule for your outbound flight.  The nap will kill you for days.  Think that jet lag is a fallacy, and get right after it.

Doctors and Scientists claim the condition may last several days, and a recovery rate of one day per time zone crossed is a fair guideline  That is why they say Day Light Savings time changes has a major impact on most people.  And then there is the ol’ urban professional “Social Jet Lag” the modern phenomenon of lives conflicting with their natural rhythm caused by ridicules work schedules, or the party times of the holidays.  Thus the blues at work after a week or so away from the fiestas.  We all get wrecked – but bottomline push through and get on schedule before the trip or on the flight.  It may really hurt, but the longer it takes to get on sched … the more you are messed up on the backside upon return.  So, Chris Columbus and crew had a thousand other health issues to deal with, but odds are ship lag was not one of them.

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