Disturbed sleep, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and even stomach problems are a fact of life for those who travel often. Known as jet lag, this feeling occurs any time you travel quickly across two or more time zones. The more time zones you cross, the more likely you are to suffer from sleepiness and sluggishness.
Fortunately, while you may not be able to eliminate jet lag altogether if you’re traveling across multiple time zones, you can lessen its effects with some simple strategies.
How Severe is Jet Lag?
Jet Lag can last for days and severely impact your travel. For example, if you’re flying from San Francisco to Europe for a 10-day trip, it may take six to nine days to fully recover. It can take up to a day for each time zone crossed for your body to adjust to the local time. Jet lag is generally worse when you “lose time” traveling west to east.
What Causes Jet Lag?
Jet lag happens because rapid travel throws off the biological clock that helps control when we wake and fall asleep. Things such as light exposure, mealtimes, and activities regulate our sleep patterns and when you cross time zones, it disrupts those, and your internal clock and the external time are desynchronized.
Jet Lag Cure?
Some of these strategies may help prevent or ease jet lag:
- Simulate your new schedule before you leave
Shift your bed time forward or backwards depending on where you will be traveling. This allows your body to get used to the changes it will be experiencing when traveling.
- Arrive a few days early
If possible, arrive a few days early to get you on track before a big event or convention.
- Drink plenty of water
Stay hydrated during the flight, avoid caffeinated and carbonated drinks as these can disrupt sleep patterns.
- Use Melatonin
Our bodies secrete Melatonin to regulate our sleep patterns (feeling sleepy). Research has shown that Melatonin can help alleviate the symptoms brought on from Jet Lag. Take 1-3 milligrams of Melatonin an hour before you are scheduled to go to bed. This should assist you in getting a restful sleep.
- Take a warm bath
A warm bath can alleviate sore muscles from traveling and provide you with a full night of sleep.
- Jet Lag Diet
Many frequent flyers utilize the The Argonne Anti-Jet-Lag-Diet, which was developed by Charles Ehret, a “chronobiologist” at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. He discovered that our biological clocks are cued in part by when and how much we eat.
Hopefully these tips can help you alleviate jet lag during your travels. Do you have any other tips that help reduce the effects of jet lag? If so, share them below in our comment area.