Jet lag or travel fatigue — a nightmare for everyone who flies a long distance and does not want to be like a soulless body half of the holiday. Jet lag can make you sick with insomnia, tiredness, headaches, stomach upsets or irritation. Why is this happening and how to protect yourself as much as possible?
To experience jet lag, you have to travel across multiple time zones. For more sensitive individuals two time zones are enough, but usually you need to cross at least 6 time zones.
Jet leg and your “bird” biorhythm
According to scientists, jet lag affects us because of our internal biological clocks. Our body simply knows when it is day or night at home, even if you are far away. Additionally, the internal settings do not run the same way with all of us. While someone subconsciously perceives the day as 23.5 hours, another lives in the rhythm of 24.5 hours. It is these biorhythms that make us either lily or owl. People with longer perceptions of time have a better chance to overcome jet lag but suffer it anyway.
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With the sun or against it
There is no jet lag like jet lag. It’s easier for the body to fly west, when the day stretches. You can survive the longer day, or you can take a nap for a while. A much worse jet lag awaits you on your way east. Time goes ahead, and you will lose a great deal of day your body was expecting. If you arrive at night, your body will still be set for the day, and you probably will not fall asleep, and will start to feel tired at the dawn.
How to avoid jet lag
If you’re flying overnight, get earplugs and eye masks. The darker the more melatonin your body creates and the more likely you fall asleep. Forget about sleeping pills. You will sleep even more and get worse jet lag. Try melatonin tablets instead. But you have to start taking them a few days before departure to have an effect.
Regulate the sun / darkness
If you are traveling east, try to isolate yourself in the dark for at least three hours. Lack of light will support the natural melatonin formation that helps you to sleep. On the way west, on the contrary, expose yourself to the sun as much as possible. Daylight persuades your body that a longer day is not such a problem.
Do some exercise
And take a healthy snack. From time to time, stand up in the plane and walk around. Try simple stretching exercises directly in your seat. It will boost your blood circulation and do you well. Avoid unhealthy snacks and fatty foods. These do not help you.
Take a shower
Are you changing at a large international airport? Find the washrooms and have a shower. The shower will refresh you the same way as exercise.
Smell the lavender
If you can not fall asleep after your arrival use few drops of lavender on your pillow. Lavender calms you down.
Bet on ginger
Ginger is a cure-all and also helps to fight jet lag. Especially if you get the ginger tea before flying or on board the plane. Ginger beer works similarly.
Do not drink alcohol or coffee
Avoid alcohol and caffeine. First your sleeping rhythm will be disturbed, and secondly you get dehydrated which worsens the physical symptoms of jet lag.
Reset your watch
Defeat your mind and set your watch for the time that’s at your arrival even before the plane takes off. It is easier to tune in to a new rhythm.
Adapt or not
Some experts advise to begin adjusting your internal clocks to the destination time approximately 3 days before departure, and after arrival to adopt the eating habits of local people as soon as possible. Others recommend to keep their home settings firmly, regardless of the new environment.