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Becoming tired and disoriented for days after arriving. Lack of concentration and motivation, especially for any activity that requires some effort or skill, like driving, reading, or discussing a business deal. But even simple activities can become harder. And your ability to really enjoy that vacation is significantly reduced.
Crossing time zones can cause you to wake up during the night or make it difficult to get to sleep. You then end up trying to get to sleep during the day. Your built-in circadian rhythms have been disturbed. And it can take many days to readjust to the new time zone. In fact, NASA estimates that you'll need one day for every one-hour time zone crossed to get back to your normal rhythm and energy levels. So a five hour time difference means that you'll need five days to get back to normal. Can you afford that?
Having to go back to check two or three times to see if your hotel room was left locked or unlocked. That is typical of the effects reported by flight crews suffering from jet lag. And that is not good if you're on a business trip.
"Losing it" is another symptom reported by flight crews. And that helps explain why long distance flights can get very tedious toward the end. What's more, going through customs and immigration, then getting to your hotel can seem like a real challenge. In addition to the above symptoms of jet lag, the syndrome is made even worse by some common physical problems caused by being cooped up in an airliner for hours.
That dry air aboard your aircraft can give you headaches, irritate your nostrils and dry your skin. In addition, you'll be more susceptible to any colds, coughs, sore throats and flu that may be floating around the aircraft.
Swollen limbs can be extremely uncomfortable. In some cases, it could actually prevent you from wearing your normal shoes for up to 24 hours after you land.
A report from the World Health Organization directly links jet lag to problems like diarrhea caused by microbes contaminating your water or food, affecting about 50% of long distance travelers. "Factors like travel fatigue, jet lag, a change in your diet, a different climate, and lowered immunity may aggravate the problem by lowering the traveler's resistance. And making passengers more susceptible to infection, or even poisoning," the World Health report points out.