home
RSS
April 24th, 2009
05:37 PM ET

How jet lag affects our brains

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

It’s funny sometimes how our work content crosses over into our real lives. A case of art imitating life? For the last several weeks, I have been jet lagged, big time. It started when I was in India a few weeks ago. The trip there wasn’t bad and I managed to get on a schedule pretty quickly once I hit the ground. Once I got back, though, I had a very hard time shaking it. About a week later, I was still lying awake at 3 a.m. feeling as if I had been run over by a Mack truck. Right when I getting back on track, I flew to the West Coast and started the whole process all over again. And, I just got in from LA late last night. No question, I do travel a lot, but I was always curious: What is really happening in my brain when I am jet lagged?

The area of the brain that is most crucial to all of this is the hypothalamus. It is a key area of the brain, and most specifically the suprachiasmatic nucleus (that’s a name to remember…) contains tens of thousands of neurons whose main function is to regulate our circadian rhythms, our body clocks. (read jet lag study) In neurosurgical terms, this area is completely “out of whack” when we travel. But, it is more than that.

There are two types of neurons that individually represent our deep sleep and REM sleep. The deep sleep neurons do synch up within a day, even after a significant overseas trip but it is those neurons overseeing REM sleep that take much longer. Without REM sleep, which is the type of sleep that allows you to dream, you are going to feel more fatigued, have lapses in memory and general decreased performance.

Now, as you might imagine, researchers who figured this out in rats have already told us they are looking into the possibility of a “jet lag” drug to target the suprachiasmatic neurons in the hypothalamus regulating REM sleep patterns (I feel smart just writing that). Yes, I am convinced that one day there will be a pill for everything, but I am not a big fan of pills, so here are some techniques I have learned over the years. (watch Sanjay's personal tips)

I immediately change my clock to the new time zone when getting on the plane. If possible, I will try to go to bed an hour earlier each night for a couple of nights prior to the trip. As you might imagine, starting off sleep deprived is not a good idea. I take eye blinders and a heavy sweater on all flights, so I can sleep even during daylight. As I mentioned, sleeping pills aren’t really my thing, though I have a few frequent traveler friends who swear by melatonin. In case you can’t remember how to take this supplement, think of it as the “darkness hormone.” It is made when it is dark outside and suppressed by light. You take it about an hour before bedtime – of your new location.

Please excuse all typos – I was jet lagged when I wrote this. And, I was wondering if you had any more tips to ward off jet lag to help me and other travelers?

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. fine dining Orlando

    Impressive! Thanks for the post

    http://italianrestaurantorlando.blog5.net/40380171/favorite-foods-at-an-italian-restaurant

    April 8, 2021 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Italian Orlando

    this is very informative and intersting for those who are interested in blogging field.

    http://italianrestaurantorlando.amoblog.com/how-to-pick-italian-restaurants-21081910

    April 8, 2021 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. best italian restaurants in orlando

    Thanks for the information.

    http://italianrestaurantorlando.arwebo.com/22867494/a-guide-to-extraordinary-italian-restaurants

    April 8, 2021 at 07:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. best restaurant Orlando

    Thank You for your information

    http://italianrestaurantorlando.blog2learn.com/46382743/healthy-eating-options-available-at-italian-restaurants

    April 8, 2021 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. italian restaurants downtown orlando

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.

    http://italianrestaurantorlando.blogzag.com/43803718/italian-restaurant-good-service-matters

    April 8, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. italian restaurants orlando

    Thank You for your information

    http://italianrestaurantorlando.look4blog.com/38646803/italian-restaurants-a-wide-variety-to-choose-from

    April 8, 2021 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. orlando italian restaurants

    This is a very interesting article. Please, share more like this!

    http://italianrestaurantorlando.mpeblog.com/23121470/what-italian-restaurants-have-to-offer-that-others-do-not

    April 8, 2021 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. best independent Italian spot

    Thank You for your information

    http://italianrestaurantorlando.link4blogs.com/22760543/how-to-find-the-best-italian-food-restaurants

    April 8, 2021 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Window Washing Service Lincoln Park, Denver, CO

    A great read. I'll definitely be back.

    http://activealert.us/content-marketing-in-sam-ramon-ca/

    April 9, 2021 at 06:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Window Washing Service Golden Triangle, Denver, CO

    Really very happy to say,your post is very interesting to read.I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up

    http://580washingtonave.com/content-marketing-in-sam-ramon-ca/

    April 9, 2021 at 06:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Window Cleaning Service Highland, Denver, CO

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.

    http://goldencirclewebdesign.com/content-marketing-in-sam-ramon-ca/

    April 9, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Window Washing Service Southmoor Park, Denver, CO

    thanks for sharing!

    https://www.bizwiki.com/window-cleaning/17209499/signature-window-washing.htm

    April 9, 2021 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Window Cleaning Service Baker, Denver, CO

    very nice! Ireally like your blog

    https://citysquares.com/b/signature-window-washing-23572866

    April 9, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Window Washing Service Highland, Denver, CO

    Impressive! Thanks for the post

    https://www.elocal.com/profile/signature-window-washing-20438183

    April 9, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me Five Points, Denver, CO

    Commenting on a blog is an art. Good comments create relations. You're doing great work. Keep it up.

    https://ezlocal.com/co/denver/window-cleaning-service/0916246364

    April 9, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Best Window Washing Service Near Me LoDo, Denver, CO

    such a great information for blogger i am a professional blogger thanks

    https://ezlocal.com/co/denver/window-cleaning-service/0916246364

    April 9, 2021 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me River North Art District, Denver, CO

    https://www.hotfrog.com/company/1253725865336832

    https://foursquare.com/v/signature-window-washing/5d7bca97c8b22b00087da174

    April 9, 2021 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Window Cleaning Service Athmar Park, Denver, CO

    Thanks for the information.

    http://www.insiderpages.com/b/15302412956/signature-window-washing-denver

    April 9, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Best Window Washing Service Near Me Cheesman Park, Denver, CO

    Thank you, I've just been looking for information approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the supply?

    https://www.localdatabase.com/l/signature-window-washing-denver

    April 9, 2021 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Window Cleaning Service City Park, Denver, CO

    Really very happy to say,your post is very interesting to read.I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up

    https://www.merchantcircle.com/signature-window-washing2-denver-co

    April 10, 2021 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me LoDo, Denver, CO

    such a great information for blogger i am a professional blogger thanks

    https://uscity.net/listing/signature_window_washing-9948834

    April 10, 2021 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Window Washing Service South Park Hill, Denver, CO

    Impressive! Thanks for the post

    https://www.brownbook.net/business/49319385/signature-window-washing

    April 10, 2021 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Window Washing Service City Park, Denver, CO

    such a great information for blogger i am a professional blogger thanks

    https://www.cityfos.com/company/Signature-Window-Washing-in-Denver-CO-22578926.htm

    April 10, 2021 at 06:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Best Window Washing Service Near Me Capitol Hill, Denver, CO

    Thanks for wonderful information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

    https://www.dexknows.com/denver-co/bp/signature-window-washing-550947371

    April 10, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me University Hills, Denver, CO

    A great read. I'll definitely be back.

    https://ebusinesspages.com/Signature-Window-Washing_eb5ap.co

    April 10, 2021 at 07:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Window Washing Service Auraria, Denver, CO

    Wow this blog is very nice!

    https://www.alignable.com/biz?_tid=971277

    April 11, 2021 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. AC Repair Orlando FL

    Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You're doing a great job Man,Keep it up.

    https://posts.gle/J99zu9NEJ5NoNFNw7

    April 14, 2021 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. m/v ocean king 2

    In the 1995 movie Money Traain Jennifer Lopez get naked while playing Neew York City transit cop Grace Santiago.
    Alan Rickman tops my list aas one sensual and intriguing
    ypur man. The special efdects were nominated for a VES accolade.

    My web pate :: m/v ocean king 2

    April 21, 2021 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Nick's Air Conditioning And Heating

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.

    http://www.elbida.com/apopka-fl/professional-services/nick-s-air-conditioning-and-heating

    April 27, 2021 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Sound financial practices

    Fairly high-quality explanation. continue the good work

    http://saskatoon.cs.rit.edu:10001/stougaardkrogsgaard0

    April 29, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. window cleaning denver CO

    such a great information for blogger i am a professional blogger thanks

    http://www.henkvanzuiden.com/notes-on-strategies-for-window-cleaning-service/

    April 29, 2021 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Best BB gun for kids

    This blog is great check it out

    http://www.bsaa.edu.ru/bitrix/rk.php?goto=http://www.airgunmegastore.com/bb-guns-for-kids/

    May 5, 2021 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Debt Programs

    Thank You for your information

    https://www.richardcapener.com/every-thing-you-actually-needed-to-know-about-payday-loans-but-were-scared-to-ask/

    May 5, 2021 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Guy Merida

    Bueno, ese es el principal problema aquí Cory – La gente termina con sótanos llenos de basura MLM que no pueden vender... y mucho dinero desperdiciado! 

    https://609d5bbc29b87.site123.me/blog/de-ingeniero-a-mC3A9dico-que-suele-suceder

    May 13, 2021 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. body shop raleigh

    Thanks for the information.

    https://www.merchantcircle.com/blogs/faizan-schenectady-ny/2021/5/Auto-Auctions-Luxury-Vehicles-for-Economy-Budgets/2006816

    May 14, 2021 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. dc seo services

    this is very informative and intersting for those who are interested in blogging field.

    http://mehfeel.net/mehfeel/blogs/post/236456

    May 15, 2021 at 06:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. roofing contractors Hainesport

    carry on, dont stop

    https://diigo.com/0kj68k

    May 15, 2021 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Locksmith Las Vegas

    Wow this blog is very nice!

    https://www.scoop.it/topic/how-to-find-the-best-locksmith/p/4124776393/2021/05/13/avant-d-acceder-a-google-maps

    May 15, 2021 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. We buy Houses Jacksonville

    I really like this post

    https://posts.gle/R8Ktyxvnt4TGa5sD6

    May 15, 2021 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. AC Repair Warrenton VA

    A great read. I'll definitely be back.

    https://photos.shutterfly.com/story_invite/42a744f8-aafd-4505-a0e6-b214c7b60970

    May 15, 2021 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Roof Repair Raleigh

    Keep this going please, great job!

    https://app.photobucket.com/u/JacquelyneRiddle/a/54311efc-73a1-4719-90b5-2ee49edb10e8

    May 15, 2021 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Carpet Cleaning Spokane Valley WA

    Thank You for your information

    https://app.photobucket.com/u/GuidrySeeley/a/ee2fb8cc-cefe-4e76-8fec-6f9e4eecf8d1

    May 15, 2021 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. residential roofing Hainesport

    nice information for a new blogger. it is really helpful

    https://justpaste.it/u/RaneySynthia

    May 15, 2021 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Flooring companies Pittsburgh PA

    Thanks for wonderful information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

    May 15, 2021 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. rekey Palo Alto

    This blog is great check it out

    https://app.mediafire.com/5bu2fnm6cvmaq

    May 15, 2021 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. ac repair San Tan Valley AZ

    Thanks for the information.

    https://www.diigo.com/user/belleseward

    May 15, 2021 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Marx Paladino

    Oddly one of the hurtful things that has left some sort of pain (not great) was when my parents in their 30’s (and I was probably 4) were so excited that friends from Iowa were coming to visit them in Rochester, NY. They hung out a blanket with an Iowa University “I” on it and waited. The “friends” never came or called. That was a hurt/disappointment that has stayed with me. Gaslighting before there was the word.

    http://609af8c8117a0.site123.me/

    May 16, 2021 at 06:51 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.