Jet Stress!



Being worn out and tired for days after arriving, generally accompanied by a lack of concentration and motivation, especially for any activity that requires effort or skill, such as driving, reading or discussing a business deal. But even simple daily activities can become harder, and one's capacity to truly enjoy a tourist holiday is significantly reduced.

Disorientation, fuzziness

Having to return to check three times to see if a hotel room was left locked or unlocked is a typical symptom reported by flight crews experiencing jet stress. Again, not good if you're on a business trip.

Becoming irrational or unreasonable

"Losing it" is another symptom reported by aircrew, which explains why long-haul flights get very tedious near the end, and why going through customs and immigration and getting to the hotel often seems like a real drama.

Broken sleep after arrival

Crossing time zones can cause you to wake during the night and then want to fall asleep during the day. Your inbuilt circadian rhythms have been disturbed, and it can take many days for the body to readjust to the new time zone. (NASA estimates you need one day for every time zone crossed to regain normal rhythm and energy levels. So a 5-hour time difference means you will require 5 days to get back to normal! Can you afford that?)

In addition to the above symptoms of jet stress, the syndrome is made worse by some common physical problems caused by being confined in an airliner for hours:


This can cause headaches, dry skin and nasal irritation, and make you more susceptible to any colds, coughs, sore throats and flu that are floating round in the aircraft.

Discomfort of legs and feet

Limbs swelling while flying can be extremely uncomfortable, and in some cases may prevent travellers wearing their normal shoes for up to 24 hours after arrival.

Overall health issues

A report from the World Health Organisation directly links jet stress with problems of diarrhoea caused by microbiological contamination of water or food, which it says affects about 50% of longhaul travellers. "Factors such as travel fatigue, jet lag, a change in diet, a different climate and a low level of immunity may aggravate the problem by reducing a travellers' resistance and making them more susceptible to this type of infection or poisoning," the report says.

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