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飞行员是如何应对时差反应的

How airline pilots beat jet lag
飞行员是如何应对时差反应的

London’s dawn sky was orange when I boarded the flight. When I got off some six hours later in Montreal, Canada, it was still orange.

当我登上飞机时,黎明时分的伦敦天空是橙色的。6个小时后,当我降落在加拿大蒙特利尔时,天空依然是橙色的。

My body didn’t like it one bit. All of us operate based on the circadian rhythm, where light determines whether it’s time to be active or have a snooze. Those constantly darting across multiple time zones are familiar with that sinking feeling when the body clock gets completely mixed up and won’t adjust to the quick change in the light-dark cycle. The result, of course, is jet lag, caused by the disruption to the circadian rhythm – and for many of us, it’s a zombie-like state that results in moodiness, irritability, and deep fatigue. “Our internal clocks are not set to 24 hours. Unfortunately, exposure to light at the wrong time of day will cause your social sleep schedule to desynchronise from your internal clock,” says Erin E Flynn-Evans, a member of Nasa’s fatigue countermeasures group.

我的身体一点都不喜欢这种状态。所有人都有一套自己的生理节律,由光线来决定究竟是该精神百倍还是昏昏欲睡。经常穿梭于不同时区的人对生物钟彻底紊乱后的这种消沉感受肯定不会陌生,每每此时,总是很难适应明暗周期的快速变化。结果便造成了时差反应,这是因为生理节律被打乱而产生的一种现象——对多数人而言,最直观的感受就是整个人像僵尸一样无精打采、昏昏欲睡、情绪不佳,并且容易烦躁。“我们的生物钟并不是按照24小时设置的。不幸的是,在错误的时间暴露在光线中会导致你的社会睡眠时刻表与生物钟脱节。”美国国家航空航天局(NASA)疲劳对策小组成员艾琳·E·弗林-伊万斯(Erin E Flynn-Evans)说。

It’s the aircraft’s speed that’s to blame; the time zone changes are just too rapid.

这是由于飞机高速飞行导致时区变化速度过快而造成的。

But some people experience these massive body shocks day in and day out: professional aircrew like pilots and flight attendants. So how do they cope with jet lag – or are they simply immune to it?

但有的人每天都会经历这种巨大的身体冲击,例如飞行员和空勤人员等机组成员。那么,他们是如何解决时差反应(jet leg)的呢?他们是否已经对这种问题具备了免疫能力?

有些短途飞行员很难适应长途旅行产生的疲倦
“Pilots suffer just like the rest of us, but they are typically provided with education sessions on how to manage their rest opportunities,” says Flynn-Evans. Most airlines have fatigue risk management programs to help pilots cope with jet lag – and pilots are even allowed to call in ‘fatigued’ when they feel like they are too jet-lagged to carry out their jobs safely.

“飞行员的感受与我们相同,但他们通常会接受专门的培训,学习如何抓住各种机会进行适当的休息。”弗林-伊万斯说。多数航空公司都设有疲劳风险管理项目,帮助飞行员应对时差反应——而飞行员甚至可以在感觉时差反应过强而无法安全地执行飞行任务时“请疲劳假”。

The training prepares pilots to find out what works best for them – and stick to the routine. “When I started to fly long-haul, and asked older captains for advice on beating jet lag, they nearly all said ‘oh, what I think doesn’t matter – you’ll find out what works best for you.’ And they were right,” says Mark Vanhoenacker, a British Airways pilot and author of Sunday Times bestseller Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot.

这种培训可以帮助飞行员找到最适合自己的方法——并通过持之以恒的训练将其变成例行公事。“刚刚开始长途飞行时,我向资历较老的机长请教如何应对时差效应的方法,他们几乎异口同声地说,‘我认为这不重要——你得找到对你最有效的方法。’”英国航空驾驶员、《星期日泰晤士报》畅销书《翱翔天际:与飞行员一起旅行》(Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot)的作者马克·万霍耐克(Mark Vanhoenacker)说。

Flynn-Evans advises astronauts on how to beat jet lag – and the advice applies to regular travellers, too. First, always think about your direction of travel, as it will determine the times you should take a nap and times that you could consider taking supplements such as synthetic melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to set the body's sleep cycle; artificial melatonin is a popular alternative to sleeping pills (although the debate whether it really is effective in beating jet lag is yet to be resolved).

弗林-伊万斯专门为宇航员提供应对时差效应的方法——这些建议也适用于普通旅客。首先,应该时刻思考你的旅行方向,因为这决定了你小睡片刻的时机,以及应该在什么时候考虑摄入合成褪黑素等补充剂。褪黑素是一种激素,可以帮助人体保持睡眠周期。人工褪黑素是一种颇受欢迎的安眠药替代品(尽管它是否真的有助于缓解时差效应仍然存在争论)。

Most people find it easier to adjust to time changes when flying west rather than east. When neurologist Dr Lawrence D Recht studied 1991-1993 season records of 19 Major League Baseball teams, he found those that had to travel east usually surrendered one run more than usual in every game.

多数人发现,由东向西飞比由西向东飞更容易适应时区变化。当神经学家劳伦斯·雷希特(Lawrence D Reht)研究了1991-1993赛季19场美国职棒大联盟球队的比赛记录后,他发现当球队前往东部比赛时,往往会比常规状态下多失一分。

So if your flight is eastbound, it’s a good idea to start getting up early for several days before your trip and turn on bright lights, says Flynn-Evans. On the day of travel and on the flight, avoid light – wearing sunglasses can help – to advance your internal clock. And when you arrive at your destination, for the first few days sleep with your curtains open and allow in plenty of light.

所以,弗林-伊万斯表示,如果你的航班是自西向东的,那最好提前几天就开始早起,并打开明亮的电灯。旅行当天应该尽量避开光线——戴一副太阳镜可以起到帮助——以便拨快你的生物钟。当你到达目的地后,最初几天应该打开窗帘睡觉,以便获得充足的光线。

However, if you are travelling west and chasing the Sun, stay up late before the journey and expose yourself to bright light in the evening, delaying the body clock. No need for sunglasses on the flight – try to get as much light as possible. “These light effects happen relative to your internal clock, so if you are traveling from Los Angeles to New York, you should keep your watch set to LA time and make sure that you are exposed to bright light in the NY morning, but not before 3am LA time. It’s tricky, because you have to make adjustments based on the time zone that you left, not the time zone where you are arriving.”

不过,如果你是自东向西追着太阳飞行,那就应该在出发前多熬夜,晚上也应该把自己暴露在光线中,从而调慢生物钟。飞机上无需佩戴太阳镜——尽量多吸收光线。“这些光效应与你的生物钟都是相对的,所以如果你从洛杉矶到纽约,就应该把手表保持在洛杉矶时间,确保你在纽约的早晨可以暴露在明亮的光线中,但不要早于洛杉矶时间的凌晨3点。这是一项小技巧,因为你调节生物钟时的依据应该是所离开的时区,而不是你所到达的时区。”

Long-haul pilot and flight safety specialist at Balpa (the British Airline Pilots Association) Stephen Landells recommends drinking plenty of water on the plane, eating lightly but at sensible times and trying to avoid caffeine or other stimulants.

长途飞行员兼英国民航飞行员协会(BALPA)飞行安全专家史蒂芬·蓝戴尔斯(Stephen Landells)建议在飞机上多喝水,吃些清淡的饮食,但必须选择恰当的时机,而且尽量不要摄入咖啡因或其他刺激物。

Once at the destination, Vanhoenacker says that for him, “an 11am rule” works best. “If I can get to my hotel room or my bed at home by 11am, then I’ll have a nap for an hour or even two. Anything later and I’ll stay up until a normal bedtime. Whether or not I sleep on arrival, though, if I find myself struggling by late afternoon, a shorter nap can help – and 20 minute ones work a treat. Definitely set an alarm.”

万霍耐克表示,就他个人而言,一旦到达目的地,“11点规则”便可起到最好的效果。“如果我能在上午11点到达酒店房间或者回到家中,那就可以小睡一两个小时。随后我会一直坚持到正常的睡觉时间。但无论我在路上有没有睡觉,只要感觉午后很疲惫,小睡一会儿都能起到帮助——只需短短的20分钟就能达到很好的效果。千万别忘了定闹钟。”

Exercise is good, too, he adds – it refreshes you and makes you sleep better when you do eventually get your head onto the pillow. And he tries to find someplace green on his first day, even if it’s just a neighbourhood park. “And I’ve convinced myself it helps even to walk a little more – for that reason I usually avoid the moving walkways at airports, especially after a flight.”

锻炼也是个好办法,他补充道——这可以帮你消除疲劳,而当你最终躺倒床上时,还可以提升睡眠质量。他会在到达的第一天找到一个绿意盎然的地方,就算是附近居民区的公园也可以。“我相信,即便是多走几步也很有帮助——正因如此,我通常都不会使用机场的自动人行道,尤其是在下飞机之后。”

Coffee and exercise

咖啡和锻炼


Not all pilots follow his routine, though. Some pilots prefer staying on their home time zone the entire time they’re away – but such an approach probably does not work for most business travellers, for whom it’s important to synch themselves with the rhythm of wherever they’re staying.

但并非所有飞行员都会采用他的方法。有些飞行员更愿意在离开自己的时区后继续遵守原先的作息时间——但这种方法或许并不适合多数商务旅行者,因为他们必须要与目的地的作息时间保持一致。

Betty Thesky is a flight attendant and author of Betty in the Sky With a Suitcase. She flies round trip to Europe from the US at least once a week. Unlike pilots, she says that she and other members of the aircrew don’t get any special training to fight jet lag – so she simply developed her own ways of dealing with it. “I arrive in Europe in the morning and allow myself to nap for a few hours, then force myself to get up even though my body wants to keep sleeping,” she says.

贝蒂·瑟斯基(Betty Thesky)是一名空乘人员,她还写过一本名为《带着旅行箱上天的贝蒂》(Betty in the Sky With a Suitcase)的书。瑟斯基至少每周都会从美国飞一次欧洲。与飞行员不同,她表示,她和其他机组成员没有接受任何应对时差效应的专门培训——所以,她研究了自己的一套方法来应对这一问题。“我早晨到达欧洲后,会睡上几个小时。随后,即便还想继续睡觉,我也会强迫自己起床。”她说。

To wake up, she drinks some coffee for a little kick, followed by upbeat music and exercise in her hotel room. “You would be surprised how some jumping jacks, sit ups, push ups and hand stands with the Bee Gee's Staying Alive in the background perk you up; then I'm ready to hit the streets.” And if you’re lucky to have a swimming pool at your destination, it really helps with stiffness, bloating and general fatigue associated with a long trip in a small seat, she adds.

为了保持清醒,她会喝些咖啡,然后听听欢快的音乐,并在酒店的房间里锻炼一会儿。“可以用Bee Gee乐队的《活着》(Staying Alive)做背景音乐,然后做做跳跃运动、仰卧起坐、俯卧撑和徒手倒立,这会带来意想不到的提神作用。之后,我就准备去逛街了。”如果你的目的地恰好还有游泳池,那绝对有助于缓解坐在狭小座位上长途旅行之后产生的各种疲倦和不适。

Experts at Nasa’s fatigue management team say that – on average – it takes travellers about a day per time zone to adapt. With tricks and practice, Vanhoenacker managed to reduce it to roughly two hours per time zone per day, so for a six-hour time change he’s back on track after about three days.

NASA疲劳管理团队的专家表示,平均而言,旅行者每经过一个时区大约都需要一天时间才能适应。但采用一些技巧后,万霍耐克能够将每个时区的适应时间缩短到每天2小时左右。所以,他只需要3天时间便可适应6个小时的时区变化。

It does happen, though, that we know we need to sleep but just can’t. Vanhoenacker says that in that case, it’s nice to embrace the experience of getting to know cities at unusual times of the day. His favourite memories of Los Angeles involve waiting on a quiet beach for a cafe to open its doors for 5am breakfast; and when he thinks of Hong Kong, in his imagination it’s almost always late at night.

有的时候,我们知道自己应该睡觉,但却怎么也睡不着。万霍耐克表示,在这种情况下,完全可以借此机会把握这个不同寻常的时机来体验一座城市的别样风貌。他自己就曾经有过这样难忘的经历:为了享用早餐,他曾经在早晨5点跑到洛杉矶宁静的海滩上等候一家咖啡厅开门。而每当想起香港,他的脑海里总是浮现出夜深人静后的景象。
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