Vagabondish is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read our disclosure.
According to a new study (oh if I had a nickel …), jet lag may not only be inconvenient. It may actually make you dumber:
A study presented November 15 at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting finds that hamsters suffering extreme, chronic jet lag had about half the normal rate of new neuron birth in a part of the brain. What’s more, these animals showed deficits in learning and memory.
Jet lag poses a serious health threat, said study coauthor Erin Gibson of the University of California, Berkeley. Studies have shown that people with work schedules that require them to frequently change their sleep patterns have higher rates of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer.
Lovely. What’s worse: these issues are not immediately remedied in a matter of a few days:
Even after 28 days of a back-to-normal schedule, the formerly jet-lagged hamsters still showed learning and memory problems. The mismatch between the internal body clock and the external environment “is having a long-term effect on learning and memory.”
It’s unclear why or how jet lag is directly connected to these health issues.