For a frequent traveler or international traveler, yourworst enemy would be jet lag. Whether you have an important business trip oryou’re finally taking your dream vacation, don’t let jet lag symptoms –insomnia, fatigue, daytime sleepiness or mild nausea – drain your energy andruin your time aboard. Jet lag can occur any time you travel quickly across two ormore time zones. The more time zones you cross, the more likely you are to besleepy and sluggish – and the longer and more intense the symptoms are likelyto be.
Why do we get jet lag?Working out how to prevent jet lag becomes significantlyeasier when we understand how our bodies work.Your internal clock or biorhythm circadian is not as easy toadjust as just forwarding your wristwatch to the time of your destination. Whentraveling through multiple time zones at high altitudes in high speed, it willtake its toll on your body. Your biorhythm/ internal clock and external clockget desynchronized or built-in routines of our body for a 24 hour period (suchas eating and sleeping) are thrown into disarray. Your body cannot acclimatizewith the time differences.
And such your general health is going to betemporarily affected – extreme fatigue along with indigestion, bowel problems,loss of appetite, memory and concentration issues. Jet lags kicks in once youhave travelled at least two time zones. Jetlag doesn’t just affect different people in different ways. Jet lag effects canvary depending on our age, state of health and stress levels. Jet lags symptomsare worse when you are flying east.
Symptoms are the direct result oftraveling across numerous time zones in a short time period. This is especiallybad news for coast-to-coast or international business travelers.Anyone who flies through multiple time zones has to grapplewith the biorhythmic confusion known as jet lag. Flying from the US to Europe,you switch your wristwatch six to nine hours forward. Your body says,”Hey, what’s going on?” Body clocks don’t reset so easily. All yourlife you’ve done things on a 24-hour cycle. Now, after crossing the Atlantic,your body wants to eat when you tell it to sleep and sleep when you tell it toenjoy a museum.
You cannot avoid this biorhythmic confusion. Luckily, youcan minimize the symptoms and have most productive time by following thesetips: Simulate yourscheduleKnowing how to prepare for a long-haul flight can mean youstart your holiday feeling fresh, rather than fatigued. If you’re someone witha rigid schedule at home, try to relax that schedule during the days before theflight.
Having a rigid routine of eating and sleeping will make it harder toadjust to new time zones. If you’re flexible about such arrangements, you’llstart your trip abroad with a major advantage.You can make a schedule that matches your destination time. Haveyour mealtimes closer to that of your destination times. People can easilyasleep in their own beds but it might be a problem when you are on the flightor at your destination. Shift gradually. If you are flying east, move yourbedtime earlier and if you are flying west move it to later. Shift your sleep schedule for long trips.
Move yourmealtimes. That might mean a super-early trip to the gym in the morning andgoing to bed before your favorite TV shows are over. But it pays off when youarrive and also makes it easier to sleep on those red-eye flights.
Leave the homewell-restedFlying halfway around the world is stressful. The flightsare long. if you are not fully rested or you had a night-out before your flightnext day, your body will show its effects during the first part of your trip. Makesure you are completely rested and relaxed before your flight. Pack all yourstuff 48 hours prior your flight.
Keep your body fully rested without anystress in these two days. Your mind is also ready for the trip.Keep that last 48-hour period sacred (apart from your normalwork schedule), even if it means being hectic before your false departure date.
Then you have two orderly, peaceful days after you’ve packed so that you arephysically ready to fly. Mentally, you’ll be comfortable about leaving home andstarting this adventure. You’ll fly away well rested and 100 percent capable ofenjoying the bombardment of your senses that will follow.Going into a trip already tired and sleep deprived willseriously hurt your chances of beating jet lag once you arrive at yourdestination.
Get consistent quality sleep before your trip.If you leave frazzled after a hectic last night and a wildbon-voyage party, there’s a good chance you won’t be healthy for the first partof your trip.People often end up having slept for just a few hours beforea long flight – whether it’s due to pre-holiday excitement or a deliberateattempt to tire yourself out so that you’ll sleep through the flight. Bigmistake.
Last minute changes to your routine will only make it harder toadjust to new time zones, and getting a good night’s sleep before yourflight will leave you better equipped to cope with jet lag.Rest and resetin-flightIf you can sleep on the plane –even for a few hours – itmakes a big difference. If your arrival is daytime, it is better sleep duringyour flight. Adjust your body and mind along with your wristwatch to the timezone once it has been announced. Keep your mind off from thinking about yourtime from your home (Don’t prolong jet lag by reminding yourself what time itis back home.
Be in Europe.) This will aids in avoiding stress and jet lag tokick in faster. You can use eye masks, ear plugs to avoid distractions anddisturbances for your sleep. You can also wear comfortable clothing and followyour daily routine bedtime to ease in your sleep.
Avoid overeating before andduring your flight.When taking a red-eye to Europe, having breakfastimmediately after waking up on the plane or once you get into the airport –even if not hungry – will definitely help adjust your body to the idea that yes, it is now morning, even ifyour friends and family back home are sound asleep.Seating arrangementIf you can sleep anywhere easily then you are lucky. But ifyou can’t do that, choose a seat that is not near galleys and lavatories. Theseare high traffic areas with their motion and commotion which can keep you awakeor disturb your sleep. Choose the seat that reclines and allows stretching. Ifyou are someone who doesn’t need to get off your seating often you can choosewindow seat. You can use pillow at the side to have comfortable sleeping.
Set your watchSwitch your watch after takeoff. When you get on the plane,set your watch to the time of your destination to get yourself psychologicallyaligned. A warning: don’t get clever and do this beforehand, unless you want toend up with the world’s most ridiculous excuse for missing your flight.Keep in mind that your body thinks it’s still that time.
You’ll need to gradually align your body with the new time zone. So set yourwatch to the new time as soon as you get on the plane, but don’t lose track ofwhat time your biological clock is keeping.Don’t shift time forshort trips. This tip is only for trips less than 48 hours.
If you’rejetting off to Europe for a single meeting and then racing back home, it paysto stay on your home time zone.Get some exerciseIt helps your body feel more normal and not as confined on aplane. This doesn’t combat jet lag per se, but it does reduce some of the scarsof travel. Move around regularly and do exercises to keep the blood flowing. Andif you’ve ever wondered how to avoid DVT (deep vein thrombosis), you shouldknow that good circulation is key.
Investing in a pair of flight socks canminimize the risk of DVT and improve circulation (a slowing of which is one ofthe most common effects of jet lag).Do some exercise to boost your endorphins and stretch outthe kinks which develop on long haul flights. These days, almost all airlinemagazines will have a section dedicated to simple exercises for long haulflights.Stay hydratedKeep your body hydrated before, during and after yourflight. Drink water as much as you can but maintain it that it doesn’t affectyou during flight. Hydration aids in sleep. Dry and pressurized cabins can quickly dehydrate you, makingyou feel extremely sleepy.
Drinkingwater throughout the trip helps ease that process. It doesn’t stop jet lag butit helps make sure dehydration doesn’t compound your fatigue. Do not drink alcoholic and high caffeinated beverages.Instead of helping you sleep it may make you more awake.
Alcohol can also causedehydration and increase tiredness, makingit even harder to beat the inevitable jet lag.Your body functions best when it’s hydrated, so drinkinglots of water is a great way to offset the effects of jet lag.Eat rightA more extreme tip is to start eating three meals a day inline with the new time zone, even if that means cornflakes at 11pm. Eatsmall meals.Use of prescriptionIf your flight time is longer than 8 hours, you can take insome medication after consultation. Somemedicine may make you wake up feeling drowsy once you have landed.
For flightsshorter than 7 hours, it is best to avoid taking in medicine. This will influence in early hours of yourdestination.Stay awake until localbedtimeDo not try to doze off as soon as you land. If you doze offat 4 p.m. and wake up at midnight, you’ve accomplished nothing.
Try to keepyourself awake at least till earliest local bedtime. This way your body willadjust or is forced to acclimatize with the local time. Plan a good walk breathingin fresh air until early evening while standing firm to fight off drowsiness. (Jetlag hates fresh air, daylight, and exercise.
Your body may beg for sleep, butstand firm: Refuse. Force your body’s transition to the local time.)Split up the tripTry and build in a stopover, so your body has more time toadapt to the new routine. This can also slash the price of your airfare.If you want to stay on top of you games then you can arrangeto make it that you arrive few days prior to your event. Get your body and mindacclimatize with local time and meals. Do some light exercise and move aroundperiodically in-flight. We may not be able to completely avoid or cure jet lag.
But with these few simple strategies we can lessen the effects and symptoms ofjet lag.Best way to fight off jet lag is to leave your home withfully relaxed body and mind, force your body for transition into local time.And enjoy your trip from the moment you step off the plane.