Before I travelled overseas the closest I had gotten to experiencing anything like jet lag was travelling to another state that had daylight savings and watching the news an hour earlier than normal. Sure, it messed with your mind but not in the way that real jet lag is supposed to.
I had learnt all the theory at University; circadian rhythms that require external zeitgebers to trigger the release of certain hormaones at the appropriate time. But I never truly understood the practicalities of this. What exactly are the rhythms??? Does waking up and needing to go to the toilet at the same time everyday count?
After arriving in Germany, I got a real taste of what jet lag is. Being 8hrs behind Australia, Germany was almost opposite Australia. For the first couple of days, it is like having an all weekend party; you stay up until you are extremely exhausted, then you have no choice but to sleep. After this, you get into the rhythm and begin to notice a few things...
Waking up at 1am and being wide awake, unable to get back to sleep. Waking up at 7am and being so tired you can barely open your eyes. Getting strangely hungry at odd times of the day (but I suspect this one may not be entirely due to jet lag). Feeling suddenly exhausted without warning. Being easily able to lay on the couch ALL day. And yes, the struggles of altering the times of daily bowel movements.
After two weeks, I was beginning to get over the effects of the jet lag and was getting back to some sort of normality. However, just as it was getting better, I had to travel to Korea for a race and do the same thing all over again. With only two days in Korea before the start of the race, I am a little worried about getting over the jet lag. The best thing is, after 13 days in Korea, I go back to Germany to do it again!!!!