Posts Tagged ‘jet lag’

A few interesting things about sleep

July 13, 2019

I am reading an interesting book, titled Why We Sleep by Mathew Walker. I’d like to share with you a few things I learned.

  1. Inside your brain is something called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. It controls your circadian rhythm, that is, your sleep cycle.
  2. When you fly to a different time zone, the suprachiasmatic nucleus must readjust to the new night/day pattern. But it’s a slow process. For every day you are in a different time zone, your suprachiasmatic nucleus can only readjust by one hour. So, if you fly from the east coast to London (+5 hours) it will take your body 5 days to readjust.
  3. Scientists have studied airplane cabin crews who frequently fly on long-haul routes and have little chance to recover. Two alarming results have emerged. First, parts of their brains—specifically those related to learning and memory—had physically shrunk, suggesting the destruction of brain cells caused by the biological stress of time-zone travel. Second, their short-term memory was significantly impaired. They were considerably more forgetful than individuals of similar age and background who did not frequently travel through time zones. Other studies of pilots, cabin crew members, and shift workers have reported additionally disquieting consequences, including far higher rates of cancer and type 2 diabetes than the general population.