Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  1996 Dec;3(2):18-31.

The Changes of Sleep-Wake Cycle from Jet-Lag by Age

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.


Jet-lag can be defined as the cumulative physiological and psychological effects of rapid air travel across multiple time zones. Many reports have suggested that age-related changes in sleep reflect fundamental changes in the circadian system and in significant declines in slow wave sleep. Jet lag is a dramatic situation in which the changes of the phase of circadian process and homeonstatic process of sleep occur. Thus the authors evaluatead the changes of sleep-wake cycle from jet lag by age. Thity-eight healthy travellers were studied for 3 days before and 7 days after jet-flights across seven to ten time zone. They were aged 19-70. They trareled eastbound, Seoul to North America(USA, Canada). Sleep onset time, wake-up time, sleep latency, awakening frequency on night sleep, awakening duration on night sleep, sleepiness at wake-up and nap length were evaluated. Our results suggest that by the 7 to 10 time zone shift, the old age group was significantly influenced in sleep-wake cycles. The date on which subjective physical condition was recovered was 6.23+/-0.83 day after arrivals for old age group, while for young and middle age group, 4.46+/-1.50 day and 4.83+/-1.52 day, respectively. In old age group, sleep onset time was later than baselines and could not recover until 7th day. But in other groups, the recovery was within 5th day. Nap dura fion was longer in old age group through jet lag than younger age group. In other parameters, there was no definite difference among three age groups. Our results suggested that the old age was significantly influenced by the disharmony between internal body clock and sleep-wake cycle needed at the travel site. Thus we proved that recovery ability from jet lag was age-dependent as well as travelling direction-dependent. To demonstrate more definite evidence, EEG monitoring and staging of sleep were funthun encouraged.


Jet lag; Sleep-wake cycle

MeSH Terms

Middle Aged
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