Lost in Time

My body is a clock
out of sync;
a sparrowhawk
frozen on the wire,
a fish gasping
in the clouded air.
My mind is a shadow,
always lurking –
lost in the corner,
like a stone skimmed
too close to the falls.
Errors multiply,
as I lash out
at all in reach –
a thunderstorm
of emotions, raging.
I know
it’s just jet lag,
but it feels
like madness –
I yearn to find my rhythm,
and burst
into the light.

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali 1931 – Oil on canvas, 24 x 33 cm – The Museum of Modern Art, New York (Image Credit: mundospropios via Flickr).

This poem is inspired by recent research, which has found that jet lag’s harmful health impacts are caused by biological clock misalignment.

Circadian disruption, or misalignment of your body’s internal clock with the outside world, can have several negative health effects. It has been linked to cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. Circadian disruption can happen for a few reasons, including jet lag, shift work, and exposure to artificial light at night. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 30 million people experience circadian disruption due to rotating work schedules.

A new study has found that jet lag may also affect the brain’s ability to create new neurons. This process, called neurogenesis, is important for learning and memory. The study found that hamsters that were exposed to jet lag had lower levels of neurogenesis than hamsters that were not exposed to jet lag. The researchers believe that this may be since jet lag causes a state of internal misalignment, or desynchrony, between the body’s different systems. This desynchrony can disrupt the production of hormones and other molecules that are important for neurogenesis. The study’s findings suggest that jet lag may have a long-term impact on brain health. People who travel frequently may want to take steps to minimize the effects of jet lag, such as adjusting their sleep schedule before travel and getting plenty of sunlight during the day.



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