Simple steps to get rid of jet lag
You probably all know how jet lag works. Be it fatigue, confusion or simple lack of awareness about where you are, jet lag is the nightmare of many travelers. And these symptoms can last for days as you adjust to new surroundings. But that’s not all. Research suggests that jet lag affects neuron growth in the brain and decreases both your learning ability and memory capacity. All in all, it’s worth to reduce the impact of jet lag on your health – here are a few simple steps to help you do it and enjoy your trip.
Adjust your schedule before leaving
Most travelers find it harder to adjust when traveling east than west. When you travel east-to-west, all you need is to go to sleep later. That’s something easy to adjust to, compared with traveling west-to-east. Try to gradually advance or delay your body clock before your trip to help make the adjustment easier on your body. You can do that by going to sleep and waking up an hour earlier than you would usually. Stretch this transition across several days to give your body time required to adjust. That’s how you effectively reduce the effects of jet lag.
Sleep during the flight
It’s a good idea to rest and catch some sleep during your flight. This comes naturally if your flight departs in the evening – if your flight is scheduled really late, make sure to eat before you get aboard. Pick a seat in the center block – it’s usually the darkest. Tell the crew that you don’t want to be disturbed, wrap yourself in a blanket, tie the seat belt on top to ensure nobody wakes you up in case of turbulence, put on eyeshades and just relax. You’ll land feeling lees rumpled and more refreshed than you’d expect.
Melatonin is basically a chemical released by the brain to make you sleepy. Consult with a doctor and use a small dose during local bed time to quickly adjust to new time zones. If you’re traveling west, consider taking melatonin during the second half of the night instead.
Keep yourself hydrated
Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight. Avoid alcohol, strong black tea or coffee – they all have dehydrating effect on your body. More importantly, they tend to worsen the impact of jet lag. Stick to plain water, infusions or light green tea and you’ll be fine.
Control your diet
Make sure to have light meals before and during your flight. Heavy meals will only put unnecessary strain on your body’s digestive system. And you’ll need all your strength to fight jet lag, remember? Pack a range of healthy snacks like fruit and nuts. They’ll come in handy especially when you need to keep your body awake.
When it’s worth not to adjust
If your trip is relatively short and you’re not traveling over more than three time zones, sometimes it’s better to simply not adjust at all and function according to your home time zone. One professor of biological rhythms at Liverpool John Moores University recommends staying on your home schedule rather than trying to adjust to local time if you won’t stay in the place for a long time. In fact, three days are hardly enough to adjust, so why bother? Keep your watch set to your home time and just follow your regular schedule.
Since traveling has become so popular these days and it’s easier than ever to visit any continent on the planet, the problem of jet lag is bound to become a central issue of interest to many scientists. Follow these rules and you’ll effectively reduce the impact of jet lag on your health and fully enjoy your trip.
Will Norquay is a globetrotter who often shares the stories about his journeys at Stayz. Though passionate about every travel, Will especially enjoys getting off the beaten path and visiting less famous, uncharted places.