Jet lag is a temporary sleep problem caused by a disruption of the body clock. It happens when you quickly travel across different time zones, and your body is still synchronized to your original time zone rather than the time zone you are currently in. The bad news is it can considerably reduce your comfort during your leisure or business trip. The good news is jet lag can be easily managed with a few lifestyle changes and some home remedies.
Experts say that the more time zones you traverse, the likelier you are to end up with jet lag. They add that jet lag tends to be worse when you travel from west to east, as well as when you fly at night. Other than your body clock being disrupted, the stress of traveling can also contribute to jet lag! Insomnia, daytime exhaustion, gut issues like diarrhea, mood changes, difficulty concentrating and a feeling of being under the weather are signs that you are suffering from jet lag.
Below you will find some simple tips on countering jet lag. Know them by heart and use them as your weapons against jet lag the next time you fly to make the most out of your trip, be it for pleasure or work-purposes.
- Alter Sleeping Habits
Going westward? Experts recommend for you to hit the sack later than usual a few days before you travel. If you’re flying east, do the opposite — hop into bed earlier. Tweaking your sleeping habits in advance can keep the impact of traveling multiple time zones on your body clock to a minimum.
- Remain Physically Active
While thousands of feet above ground, stay active. Saunter up and down the aisle. Don’t be too shy to go to the toilet. Refrain from taking sleeping pills when you get bored because that will only exacerbate the symptoms of jet lag.
- Stay Hydrated
The physical demands of traveling can leave you dehydrated, which is something that can exacerbate jet lag symptoms. Adding to your body’s dehydration is the dry and frigid cabin air. So make sure that you drink enough fluids. Also, avoid alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated beverages that can leave you dehydrated.
- Opt for Stopovers
It’s true that stopovers won’t get you from point A to point B as fast as possible. However, spending a brief period of time at different locations on your way to your destination can help reduce jet lag because it allows your body to gradually get accustomed to a new time zone.
- Get Some Sun
Locking yourself in your hotel room won’t make that jet lag go away. What you need to do instead is get your skin touched by sunlight. This will help you adjust much better to the new time zone. Experts say that it’s a good idea to get more morning sun when you’re from the east and obtain more afternoon sun when you’re from the west to have your body clock adjusted accordingly.
- Put on Sunglasses
Because your body clock also relies on what your eyes are seeing, wearing a pair of sunglasses indoors — in your hotel room, inside the mall, at the restaurant, etc. — helps control your exposure to artificial light. Start donning those sunglasses of yours indoors when mid to late afternoon strikes to slowly prep your body for some Z’s.
- Have a 4-Hour Sleep
During your first night at your destination, do your best to spend 4 hours in dreamland — nothing more, nothing less. This is what’s referred to as “anchor sleep” which facilitates your body’s adjustment. Feel free to take naps a number of times throughout the day, but remember to keep them short and sweet.
Last but not least, don’t let the pressures of traveling get to you. Being stressed can only make the resulting jet lag even worse. Doing advanced preparations can make your trip less stressful. Checking in online and avoiding last-minute shopping can keep you from feeling frazzled.