The first days of vacation are always the most exciting ones, but, unfortunately, they are sometimes marred by jet lag, an unpleasant consequence of traveling through several time zones within a few hours. The fact is that our body lives according to so-called circadian rhythms, synchronized with the sun. An airplane is a very fast means of transportation, so from the body’s point of view, it instantly moves us to a “shifted” day, where the body finds itself out of sync with the clock.
This can manifest itself in the fact that you peck your nose all day and, conversely, cannot sleep at night. The body’s biological clock is disrupted, and a person begins to experience discomfort, which manifests as headache, fatigue, upset stomach, concentration problems, and stress. The symptoms of jet lag may vary from person to person but crossing different time zones always has an impact on our body. To get over jet lag and adjust to a new daily rhythm more quickly, follow the simple tips we have listed below.
Adjust your internal rhythm before you depart
It is easier to beat jet lag if you start adapting to a new daily rhythm in advance, about a week before the flight. It’s not just about sleep, but also about mealtimes and staying outdoors. Many people talk about at least the potential effectiveness of this method. The problem is that few people have time for such preparation.
This method can only be used if you have a flexible work schedule – that is, if you can work at night and sleep during the day. If you do have the opportunity, many services help prepare your body for the new regime – for example, the app Entrain. This service allows you to gradually switch to a new sleeping and eating routine. However, you can adjust to a new daily rhythm also without any apps, if you just shift your sleep time a few days before your flight.
Make sure you are well-rested before the flight
Get a good night’s sleep and try not to tire yourself out before the flight. But do not go to bed too early, just do it in time, so that the body has time to recover. If you sleep longer than usual, it can only make things worse. First of all, you will feel broken, and secondly, you will not be able to fall asleep earlier in the place to which you are going, if necessary. Some people advise, on the contrary, to try to sleep as little as possible. For example, you can refrain from sleeping for a day. This allows you to get very tired and quickly fall asleep on the plane, and also to lie down earlier after arrival. But this method is not suitable for people who suffer from cardiovascular and some chronic diseases.
For this, you may have to finish your usual business and pack your bags at an intense pace, but the day before the flight you will have everything ready and be able to prepare for the trip mentally, relax and get a good night’s sleep. Of course, in conditions of a strictly scheduled vacation, you don’t want to spend an extra day at home, but try to at least get ready the night before, so you avoid morning nervousness and can sleep longer. Go to bed earlier rather than enjoying your favorite series or gambling slots.
Stay hydrated on the plane and avoid alcohol
It is useful advice for any airline passenger: in the cabin air is often overdried by air conditioners, and alcohol only contributes to further dehydration, which will only add to the problems on arrival. Also, if your plane lands at night, try to refrain from coffee and energy drinks, as they will not let you sleep soundly when you get to the hotel; this will further disrupt your “inner clock”.
Take your time to adjust after you depart
You need time to adapt to the new daily rhythm and it is important to help your body with it. Adjust your watch to the time zone of the destination after the arrival and try not to over-schedule the first 1-3 days at the new place. Well, in case you have a business trip try to make your schedule as “relaxed” as possible and support your body as well as you can.
For example, avoid extra stress and sightseeing but focus on the job tasks and adjusting to the new time zone. To reduce symptoms of jet lag opt for healthier and lighter meals and develop a new sleep routine. Properly timed exercising in daylight, and taking melatonin supplements can also support your inner clock in a targeted manner. There are even apps for those who want to overcome jet lag faster, for example, the digital planner Jet Lag Rooster.
If you think about taking melatonin supplements, it’s best to consult the doctor first and focus on more natural aids (even if melatonin is way better than any sleep aids!) such as healthy sleep, physical exercises, and healthy meals. To decrease disruptions in a new place take a sleep mask, comfortable pyjamas, earplugs, and a book that helps you fall asleep faster. If you have any relaxing rituals before going to bed follow them before going to bed in a new place. Take a relaxing bath (some hotels have special anti-jet lag treatments, which have both relaxing and toning effects) and make yourself a cup of tea, and listen to relaxing music.
Unfortunately, jet lag is quite usual if you move to another time zone. Our body gets out of balance and we can suffer from headaches, concentration problems, upset stomach, and dizziness. More than 90% of travelers know it and need to deal with it. Luckily, it is not an illness, just the natural biological process: our body needs to adapt to a new time zone and needs time for it. To reduce the negative effects of jet lag and support your body it is important to follow some simple tips and tricks before the flight, on the plane, and after the arrival. At a travel destination, it is important to support natural sleep and adjust to new daily rhythms. Healthy digestible meals and intake of melatonin can also help the body adapt to the new place faster.
And as annoying and challenging the jet lag may be, it is important to remember it always goes over and nobody needs to live with it. Of course, if the jet lag lasts longer and you have difficulties with overcoming it, be ready to consult the doctor in a new place. To make it easier, find out the address of the nearest clinic to your hotel before your arrival and don’t forget about medical insurance.