Jet Lag is something many people experience every single year. It is caused by traveling between time zones via airplane. Jet Lag is a temporary disorder that can cause all kinds of unsettling symptoms that can make your trip tough to enjoy.
That’s where we come in. We are going to discuss with you a few of the most popular ways to fight Jet Lag. We want you to get off that plane feeling rested, relaxed and ready to enjoy your travels. So, sit back, relax and let us make everything a little bit easier for you.
What Kinds of Things Jet Lag Can Do To Your Body
Before we can discuss how to prevent Jet Lag, let us first explain to you the various affects this disorder can have on your body. One of the most common and most annoying symptoms of Jet Lag is the insomnia. This makes it extremely difficult for you to enjoy your trip when you are having a tough time sleeping. Then of course, there is the fatigue. Nobody wants to walk around and see everything there is to see when they are exhausted.
Jet Lag can also cause you to become dehydrated, confused, get painful headaches, suffer from anxiety, constipation or diarrhea — just to name a few of the most common and most frustrating problems.
Getting Used to a New Time Zone
When you’ve lived somewhere for quite some time and then you are suddenly thrown into a whole new time zone, your body doesn’t know what to do. Let’s say you fly into your destination and it is midnight there, but your body still thinks it is 6pm. Going to sleep at 6pm your time isn’t something that is easy to do but the faster you get yourself accustomed to the new time zone, the better.
Preparing yourself before leaving is a great way to get your body ready for the drastic time zone change. It is advised that at least a few days prior to your trip, you begin going to bed at a time that would best match your destination. Try eating your meals at different times, as well as waking up when it would coincide with your destination.
This proves to be a tough step for many people because things such as work and family can make it hard for you to create these adjustments. All you can do is give it your best shot because even minor changes can make a big difference in the long run.
During Your Flight
Just as you should before and after arrival, make sure to get plenty of rest as well as eat and drink properly. Sitting for long periods of time is no good on the body, so you may want to consider splitting up your trip into smaller flights. This may include having a night or two stay in a hotel and then continuing your trip the following day.
Having a period of time off the plane gives you the perfect opportunity to take a shower or go for a walk. Both options are going to get your body circulating properly again and boost your energy.
Do whatever you can to be comfortable during your flight. Remove your shoes, bring a blindfold with you and any other items that are going to make you feel more at home. Sleeping on a plane isn’t as comfortable as your bed, but if you come prepared, you can probably get much more rest than you expected.
Even if you do not need to actually use the restroom, get up and walk to the bathroom. Sitting for too long can increase your risk of blood clots. Do not be afraid to stretch as needed, and get your blood pumping as much as you can to avoid swelling and discomfort.
At Your Destination
Even if you are tired upon arriving at your destination, do your best to stay awake during daylight hours (although a nap here and there is advised because you do not want to exhaust yourself. This can lead you to be extremely susceptible to illnesses). Our bodies thrive on sunlight and need it in order to function properly, so each day, get out in the daylight. This is going to help get your body on the right sleeping pattern. Spending much of your time sleeping during the day is going to interfere with your sleep cycle that much more; causing you to have more trouble adjusting to your new schedule.
Getting Proper Sleep
Do whatever you can to get at least 7 hours of sleep every single night. If you must take a nap, avoid doing so in the afternoon (based on your destination time) because this can throw off your schedule even further. Try not to allow yourself to sleep too long. Even a quick hour nap can rejuvenate you and keep you prepared for the rest of your day. Many people find it much easier to sleep when their bodies are cooler so have a fan on or take other steps to keeping your body temperature down.
If you think you need it, talk to your doctor about sleep medications that may be able to help you get on the right track.
Eating and Drinking Tips
Protein does you the best good when eaten early in the day, giving you the additional energy you are looking for. As for dinner, it is best to eat a bit early allowing your body time to digest before bed. Keep protein at night to a minimum and focus more on carbohydrates.
Eating small meals throughout the day is going to keep your energy levels consistent versus eating large meals that are just going to tire you out that much more. Incorporating melatonin into your daily routine has been proven to help those experiencing Jet Lag get to bed. All you have to do is take it about a half hour before the bedtime you are trying to create. Talk to your doctor to see if this is a good option for you.
Many people are prone to dehydration during travel because there is so much going on. Bring a water bottle with you and do your best to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. Having a consistent flow of both food and water in your body is going to keep you at the top of your game.
Avoiding alcohol is always a good idea whenever you are flying. Alcohol has a much stronger affect on you in the air than it does on the ground and has the potential of dehydrating you; the same goes for caffeine.
As we mentioned previously, exposing yourself to light during the hours in which you are working towards being awake is a must. This is going to get your brain to recognize that it should be alert, not tired during these hours. Many people use light therapy as a way to prepare them for a change in time zone. There are lamps available that give out light similar to that of the sun, tricking your brain into thinking it is day time.
Consider the Length of Your Trip
One thing to consider when preparing yourself for a new time zone is how long you are going to be in that time zone. The reason we mention this is because let’s say you prep yourself for a new time zone, get used to it but your trip is over so fast that you are then being forced to prepare your body yet again to go back to your original time zone.
If you are going on a short trip, you should not get your body too used to a different time change (especially if it is a drastic one; like more than 3 hours difference, for example). This can overwhelm your body, so be sure to make needed adjustments without going too far.
Every Body is Different
What makes the prevention of Jet Lag so difficult is the fact that not everyone is affected in the same way. Some people can do a minimal amount of prepping and handle the whole ordeal quite nicely, while other people take a bit longer to get used to going to sleep and waking up at different times.
The best piece of advice we can offer you is to pay attention to your body. Make sure to eat consistently and drink plenty of fluids as a way to help keep your body functioning properly. Do not be afraid of taking naps. There is no need to feel guilty — this is just going to add to your stress.
Do what feels right to you but use our tips as a way to select the options that work best for you and don’t forget to speak with your doctor, as they know about your medical history. Things such as age and lifestyle are factors in how Jet Lag is going to affect you.
Hi, I am Sarah McPherson. I am a travel blogger and I have written a lot posts for my Nelson Bay accommodation website.