Jet lag from dry cabin air: Solutions to improve your in-flight comfort

There is a clear relationship between aircraft cabins' extremely low humidity levels and worsened jet lag symptoms. The dry cabin air contributes to dehydration, fatigue, and disrupted sleep patterns, all of which can amplify the effects of jet lag. This article explores how CTT Systems' Humidifier Onboard can help mitigate these issues, enhancing comfort, well-being, and health.
Jet lag from dry cabin air: Solutions to improve your in-flight comfort - by CTT Systems
Table of Contents

What is jet lag, and why do I get it?

Air travel across multiple time zones disrupts the body’s circadian rhythms, leading to the cluster of symptoms known as jet lag. While the primary cause is the misalignment of our internal clocks, the extremely dry air in aircraft cabins can significantly worsen jet lag’s effects. 

Circadian rhythms and jet lag

Circadian rhythms are the body’s internal 24-hour cycles that regulate various physiological processes and behaviors, such as the sleep-wake cycle, hormone release, body temperature, and digestion. 

Jet lag is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that occurs when rapid travel across multiple time zones disrupts the body’s internal circadian clock. The misalignment between the internal clock and the new light-dark cycle at the destination causes the symptoms of jet lag.  

Dehydration amplifies fatigue and impairs sleep

Aircraft cabin humidity can be as low as 5% in first and business class, compared to healthy humidity levels between 30-60%. This arid environment causes insensible water loss through respiration, leading to dehydration during a long flight. 

While dehydration does not directly cause jet lag, it can significantly worsen some of the key symptoms:  

  • Fatigue and lethargy from dehydration compound the tiredness from the circadian disruption. 
  • Dehydration can trigger headaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating, similar to jet lag. 
  • Dry mucosal membranes increase susceptibility to respiratory infections, which can further disrupt sleep cycles. 
  • Dehydration may disturb sleep quality and duration, worsening the insomnia associated with jet lag. 

Symptoms of jet lag

The most common symptoms of jet lag include: 

Sleeping problems

It may be hard to fall asleep when you want to, or you may wake up earlier than planned. Jet lag can also fragment sleep.

Daytime sleepiness

Jet lag frequently causes you to feel exhausted during the day.  

Impaired thinking

You may experience problems with attention or memory or feel like your thinking is slowed.

Hampered physical function

Your body may feel tired, and peak physical performance may be affected, which is especially notable for traveling athletes. 

Emotional difficulties

Some people with jet lag feel irritable, and evidence indicates that jet lag can exacerbate mental health problems, such as mood disorders. 

General malaise

Jet lag may cause malaise, a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness. 

Stomach problems

Jet lag can induce gastrointestinal problems, such as reduced appetite, nausea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome. 

Dry air disturbs sleep quality

Proper sleep is crucial for overcoming jet lag, but the extremely dry cabin air can negatively impact sleep quality in several ways: 

  • Dehydration itself may disturb sleep patterns and reduce sleep duration. 
  • Dryness in the nasal passages and respiratory tract can lead to discomfort that disrupts sleep. 
  • Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections from dry air can worsen sleep disruption caused by jet lag. 

Benefits of Humidifier Onboard

CTT Systems Humidifier Onboard system provides several vital benefits in combating the extremely dry cabin air and mitigating jet lag symptoms: 

Prevents dehydration

Low humidity levels in aircraft cabins can lead to significant dehydration during long flights. Maintaining proper hydration is essential for mitigating the effects of jet lag, and the Humidifier Onboard plays a crucial role in this:

Prevents dehydration-induced fatigue

By traveling in an airplane with a Humidifier Onboard, you can maintain your moisture balance, reducing feelings of tiredness and more energy upon arrival. 

Reduces risk of respiratory infections

The Humidifier Onboard helps moisten your mucosal membranes, supporting overall respiratory health and promoting better sleep. 

Improves sleep quality

Dehydration can disturb sleep quality and duration, compounding insomnia linked to circadian misalignment. The Humidifier Onboard ensures a more comfortable environment that supports restful sleep and makes adjusting to new time zones easier. 

Improves comfort and well-being

Beyond preventing dehydration, the Humidifier Onboard addresses several discomforts caused by the arid cabin air, significantly improving your overall well-being: 

Alleviates dryness and irritation

The Humidifier Onboard helps maintain moisture levels, providing relief and enhancing comfort without the discomfort in the eyes, nose, throat, and skin, leading to irritation and itchiness. 

Enhances sensory enjoyment

The humidifier system helps preserve the senses of smell and taste, allowing you to appreciate your food and beverages better. 

Creates a comfortable cabin environment

Elevating the cabin humidity from desert-like dryness to more comfortable, ground-like levels creates a more pleasant environment, making the flying experience more enjoyable and less stressful. 

Better sleep

Increasing cabin humidity through the use of a Humidifier Onboard significantly enhances sleep quality, offering multiple benefits: 

Maintains respiratory health

Humidifiers help maintain normal sleep patterns by preventing respiratory dryness and reducing the risk of potential infections. This ensures you rest better during your flight. 

Supports natural sleep-wake cycles

Proper hydration is crucial for the body’s natural sleep-wake cycles, which can be disrupted by jet lag. The Humidifier Onboard helps hydrate your body, facilitating smoother adjustments to new time zones. 

Improves crew rest

Humidifiers in crew rest areas have been shown to improve sleep for pilots and cabin crew, ensuring they are well-rested and alert, which enhances overall flight safety and comfort. 

Reduce jet lag by staying hydrated

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight to counteract the effects of dry cabin air, and, as always, avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these can dehydrate you and affect your sleep. 

Humidifier Onboard combats jet lag

In essence, CTT Systems Humidifier Onboard is vital in mitigating the dehydrating effects of dry cabin air, which can significantly worsen jet lag symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and sleep disruption. Maintaining proper humidity levels allows you to arrive at your destinations more refreshed and ready to overcome jet lag. 

Welcome onboard an airplane with a Humidifier Onboard 
 for a restful flight and a refreshed arrival  


What to read next

How dry cabin air affects your fatigue and sleep 
How low cabin humidity impacts taste, smell, and health 
Say goodbye to dry skin with Humidifier Onboard airplane
The importance of humidity for human health

White paper: Importance of aircraft cabin humidity – from a scientific point of view
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