Jet lag is a phenomenon that occurs when you travel through different time zones. Time zones are areas of the earth’s surface that have the same official time. Time zones were created to simplify the measurement of time and so that every place on Earth has a reference time that is consistent with the movement of the Sun. It also makes it possible to synchronise human activities and facilitate communications and travel.
There are 24 time zones, each corresponding to a time that is offset from the world reference time, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). When travelling from one time zone to another, you may need to adjust your watch to match local time. Jet lag occurs when you move through several time zones in a short time.
How do you work out a time difference?
Calculating time difference is relatively straightforward, but it can become more complex when you travel across several different time zones. For example, if you are travelling from Nairobi in Kenya to Cotonou in Benin, you will have to consider the two-hour time difference between the two cities. Nairobi is in the East African time zone, which is GMT+3, while Cotonou is located in the West African time zone, which is GMT+1. That means if you are travelling from Nairobi to Abidjan, you will need to set your watch back two hours to adjust to the local Cotonou time.
Advice for managing jet lag
It’s important to help your body regulate itself and adapt to the time difference. First, try to synchronise your sleep schedule with the time in your destination. If you are travelling east, this means you should try to go to bed earlier than usual a few days before you leave, so that your body can better adjust to the local time at your destination. If you are travelling west, you should try to go to bed later than usual. You should also make sure you stay well hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine during the flight. These substances can disrupt your sleep pattern and worsen the effects of jet lag. Also try to do some light exercise before and after your flight, as it can help reduce the effects of jet lag by regulating your circadian rhythm. Finally, when you arrive at your destination, try to expose yourself to as much natural light as much as possible. This can help regulate your body clock and reduce the effects of jet lag. If you are travelling east, try to expose your body to morning light. If you are travelling west, try to expose your body to evening light.