Jet Lag

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Tags: experience, psychology, sensory


“In my regular life -- the one I call ''real'' -- I go to sleep every night at 8:30. My body gets me up early in the morning, and by the time darkness falls I'm starting to lose consciousness, fast… In my regular life I know the time so well that I can usually tell the hour to the minute without looking at my watch.

Under jet lag, however, all that is thrown into convulsions. Not just the steady routine, the sense of clear divisions, the ability to get on with the world, be in sync with it. No, something deeper is dissolved. I get off a plane, 17 hours out of joint, and tell naked secrets to a person I know I don't trust. A friend starts talking about her days -- her plans, her friends, the things she wants to do -- and tears start welling in my eyes,

I often think that I have traveled into a deeply foreign country under jet lag, somewhere more mysterious in its way than India or Morocco. A place that no human had ever been until 40 or so years ago and yet, now, a place where more and more of us spend more and more of our lives. It's not quite a dream state, but it's certainly not wakefulness, and though it seems as if we're visiting another continent, there are no maps or guidebooks to this other world. There are not even any clocks.”

- Pico Iyer [1]

  1. Iyer, Pico. 2004. “In the Realm of Jet Lag.” The New York Times, March 7, 2004, sec. Magazine.