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Dr Maria Co­mas Sober­ats, Re­search fel­low, Wool­cock In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Re­search, Univer­sity of Syd­ney

Australian Geographic - - Geo buzz -

QIs jet lag more pro­nounced when trav­el­ling dur­ing an equinox?

AThe most im­por­tant fac­tor that helps us syn­chro­nise our body clocks to a new time zone is day­light ex­po­sure. Gen­er­ally, the higher the ex­po­sure the eas­ier and faster it is to achieve syn­chro­ni­sa­tion. This is why ad­just­ing to a new time zone when trav­el­ling dur­ing sum­mer is eas­ier than in win­ter. Equinoxes are sim­ply in be­tween th­ese two sea­sonal ex­tremes. So, we could say that, in gen­eral, jet lag would be more pro­nounced in the equinox com­pared with sum­mer but not com­pared with win­ter. There are other fac­tors that af­fect syn­chro­ni­sa­tion. Di­rec­tion of travel, for ex­am­ple, is im­por­tant. Jet lag is worse when fly­ing east rather than west. Ar­riv­ing in the evening is bet­ter than the morn­ing. Our own ‘chrono­type’ has an ef­fect also. ‘Morn­ing peo­ple’, for ex­am­ple, gen­er­ally suf­fer less than evening types when trav­el­ling east.

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