Change in Air Pressure Could Cure Jet Lag

As a resident of California, I have a five and and a half hour flight and three hour time shift every time I travel between school and home. Because of this and many other trips both domestically and abroad, I am no stranger to the dreaded effects of jet lag.

Jet lag occurs when your body’s circadian rhythm is interrupted by change in daylight hours. Your circadian rhythm controls many of your normal habits, but mainly your schedule for eating and sleeping. It si your body’s “internal clock”, and when time shifts the rhythm and schedule is interrupted leaving travelers with sleepless nights and drowsy days. But according to a new study, there may be hope for the victims of jet lag.

Scientists developed a hypothesis that oxygen levels may play a role in animal’s circadian rhythm because they observed that oxygen levels in cells would change throughout the day and night, especially when eating and sleeping. So in an experimental study with mice, scientists simulated a six hour time change and observed that the mice that experienced a small drop in oxygen level 12 hours before or two hours after adapted to the change in time significantly faster than the control mice that did not experience a change in oxygen levels.

Of course the next step of this is going to be studies done on humans, and if it proves to work it could change the experience people have while traveling greatly. In addition, airlines are interested in studies like these because there is potential for them to control the pressure in aircrafts that would result in less or no jet lag. I am hopeful that there is a way to prevent or cure jet lag, but just because the alternative hypothesis in this study was shown, humans may react differently or not at all even though mice did.

2 thoughts on “Change in Air Pressure Could Cure Jet Lag

  1. Jordan Crawford

    Getting jet lag sucks. When I travel on a plane I try to stay up most of the night before I get on the plane, that way I’ll sleep most of the plane ride. This has helped some, but not too much. This artical about the air pressure is really interesting. It would be nice if the study on the rats would have the same results on humans. Changing the pressure in the plane would be easy to do, but would there be any issuse changing the pressure at the altitude the plan flys at? That will be an intersting study scientist will have to do in the future. Maybe Andrew could get a grant and do the experiment himself.

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