Jet Lag  

rm_harshawj 51M
761 posts
7/13/2005 8:30 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Jet Lag

To say I am an armchair physicist would be absolutely true. Hence I pose the question, why is it we feel tired when we get off an airplane? With that in mind I have a theory.

Jet lag is mostly attributed to the fact that we change time zones. We feel tired simply because we are no not accustomed to the current time zone. This is a pretty simple answer and one I do not exactly hold with. Reason: When I fly within a time zone I feel the same sort of tired feeling as when I cross time zones. So maybe jet lag is not all just changing time zones.

Some might argue that there is stress involved in flying and while in the air we are worried that we will not land. Now I might buy that for infrequent flyers, but for someone like me who has racked up the miles approaching the million mark, it is just not an issue.

Others would say that being seated for a long time takes it’s toll. The lack of movement is cramping and our bodies do not relax as they should. The constant whine of the engines, the frequent bumps of unstable air contribute to the body being tense for a long period of time. Even in sleep, the body is aware of the situation and the rest if fitful at best. But again, I have learned to relax, and that does not seem to be it either.

Other reasons? The dry air of the plane cabin or the shifts in air pressure can cause alarm and physical reactions. The pestering air stewards (Soda, Coffee, Tea, Juice, Scotch and Tonic, MHC? I wish the last were an option, may actually relax then) while you are resting is another source of annoyance and can tire us. Maybe just the narrow seats of coach, best suited for those under the age of ten, could be it. The list goes on…

But I have a theory. How about E=MC^2?

Let’s say a body at rest at sea level weighs 150 pounds. The same body at rest at thirty thousand feet will weight slightly less due to the Inverse Square Law of Gravity. But now let’s take into account the fact that we get into and airplane and fly at six hundred miles and hour. E=MC^2 says that as we gain momentum we must also gain mass (or energy), in this case kinetic energy. Thus kinetic energy imparts more mass to our body, mass and energy our body must get acclimated to. Our body then adjusts in its own special way (expending energy to do so, since to do anything energy is required) and thus tiring our system. Then as we land and resume a more normal weight and speed our bodies must once again adjust, expending more energy.

OK, if you do the math our bodies do weigh a bit more (150.00000173 pounds at 30,000 feet and 600 MPH), and really, that in-flight beverage added more weight than the gain of speed (energy/mass), but the speed added mass to our whole body, exciting every atom therein.

Could this possibly be the true cause to why we are tired or lagged after a flight? Maybe, just maybe, there is something to this.

rm_QuietEyez 46F

7/14/2005 4:16 pm

It would make sense, Everything is different at different elavations, The way you breath, your energy levels, even how well you car runs when you change from sea level to mountain level.


rm_txrose4uNTX 57F
3289 posts
7/15/2005 10:48 pm

I think you have been thinking way too hard lately... breathe deeply and relax!!


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