DISRUPTION of Circadian Rhythms
Both jet lag and shift lag involve de-synchronization of Exogenous and Endogenous Zeitgebers which can cause sudden shifts in our biological rhythms which can impact our behaviour.
Jet lag is experienced when we travel across multiple time zones, as this causes a disruption in circadian rhythms and a shift in Zeitgebers. Jet lag occurs due to conflict between external cues, such as light and endogenous pacemakers, such as the SCN (Supra Chiasmatic Nucleus), takes several cycles to entrain to a new environment. Winter found that it takes 1 day to adjust to each hour of time change.
The symptoms of jet lag include fatigue, concentration, memory difficulties and performance problems. Jet lag is more severe when traveling west to east (e.g. America to UK). This is a result of losing time which our circadian rhythms find difficult to adapt to; this is known as Phase Advance. When travelling in from east to west we gain time, which is known as Phase Delay. We find it easier to adapt to this as our SCN free runs to between 25-28 hours.
Shift work relates to any shift outside regular working and they can be fixed or rotating. It has been estimated that around 15-20% of European workers are working shifts. Shift work typically causes problems as a result of us being awake when we should be asleep.
The symptoms of shift work are: Decreased alertness; many shift workers experience a circadian trough between…