relaxing at the airport

Finally! We figured out jet lag

If you fly frequently and specially on long haul trips, then you are all too familiar with the symptoms of jet lag. Daytime fatigue, disturbed sleep, difficulty in concentration and sometimes stomach upsets are some of the facts of life you will have to face.

However, while it may not be possible to eliminate jet lag if you are traversing several time zones, it is possible to lessen the effects and try to regain normalcy as far as your body imbalance is concerned. But before we reveal the specific tips to use to reduce jet lag, it is essential to recognise how it happens in the first place.

What Causes Jet lag?

To understand how jet lag happens, you must first understand what the circadian rhythm is. This is the biological clock responsible for controlling when we fall asleep and when we wake up. Jet lag happens when fast travel interferes with the circadian rhythm. Things such as exposure to light, social engagement and mealtimes are some of the things responsible for regulating the rhythm, and when we cross multiple time zones, such are disrupted and so is the internal clock, leading to the symptoms of jet lag.

How to Cope With Jet lag

Now that you understand a thing or two about circadian rhythm, the science bit is over and it will be easy to know what exactly you can do to reduce or cope with the effects of jet lag.

Remember, it is all about trying to bring back to normalcy your biological clock.

Here are some quick tips you can try out to keep you going:

Try to simulate your new schedule before you leave

Suppose you are travelling to the east, try moving your bedtime earlier by one hour several days before the scheduled travel and if you are flying to the west, do the opposite – delay your bedtime by about one hour for several days before the trip.

Adapt to your new schedule on the flight

Once you set foot on the plane, adjust your watch. This is purely psychological, and it will help you fix your mindset in readiness for the new order you will have upon arriving at your destination.

Take a nap during the flight

If you feel like sleeping during the flight, don’t resist it. If you can afford to rest for longer, try as hard as you can so that you sleep during the average sleep time of your arrival time zone.

Drink warm water and stay hydrated

While on the flight, be sure to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of warm water. Dehydration can interfere with your sleeping, and so is the same with taking alcohol or caffeine a few hours before sleeping.

Try the light therapy

Exposure to natural light will help in regulating the circadian rhythm. When travelling to the west, try and get the bright morning light when you get to your new destination. Also, try your best to avoid exposure to afternoon and the evening lights. When flying east, avoid the morning light exposure, but try and get the afternoon and early evening lights. These will help in shifting your biological clock and make you feel rested and awake at the right times in your new destination.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to reduce the effects of jet lag and help you get hold of your body when you land at your new destination. Happy travels…

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