Travelling is an exciting time. We get the opportunity to experience a new country, new customs and traditions, sample some new food and even encounter new people and their unique perspectives. While travelling is fun and all smiles, a thing that some might hate about travelling is the fact that there is a lingering fear that our body might just exhibit signs of jet lag. Oh, that excruciating pain of not being able to sleep when night falls or even suppressing a yawn when the sun is hanging right above our heads. Read on to discover what jet lag can do to you and discover a few things you can commit to getting a leg up over jet lag.
What Is Jet Lag?
Jet lag affects even the best of us and it happens when you cross multiple time zones while on air travel. Doing this actually creates disruptions to your circadian rhythms, which are also what is known as your internal 24-hour clock. What this looks like is often perceived to be insomnia in the night or extreme sleepiness in the day and it very often has a large impact on your day. In addition to just affecting our sleep routine, jet lag also has the potential to affect us in many other ways as well. It has been found that jet lag has an effect on our ability to focus, making it harder for us to concentrate and complete our travel itinerary for the day. To add to that, jet lag also can lead to indigestion, have a limiting effect on your appetite and even worsen your symptoms of existing psychiatric disorders like depression and even anxiety. Because of how jet lag could disrupt your sleep, it might start causing issues on your skin like wrinkles and fine lines from appearing and disrupting the perfect complexion of your skin.
Here’s What You Can Do
Unfortunately, there is no immediate cure that you can find for jet lag, but there are definitely steps that you can take to make those symptoms of jet lag less severe. Read on for a few tips on how to combat the symptoms of jet lag.
Before Your Flight
Just before your trip, there is a little something that you can do to make the transition so much better. When you are flying to a country with a different time zone, what you can do is to adjust your sleeping time by a few hours to match your sleep cycle with the new time zone. While this probably wouldn’t be suitable if you are flying to further countries like Europe or North America, you could certainly do it for nearby countries in Asia where the time difference would only require you to move your sleeping time by an hour or two. A tip for that is to adjust your bedtime progressively instead of bringing it forward immediately as it would probably lead to a lot of time spent staring at the ceiling.
Similarly, another advice you can heed is the consumption of melatonin supplements in the days before your trip to the airport. Some absolutely swear by these melatonin supplements as they would help reduce the symptoms of jet lag. What the melatonin supplement would do would be to promote a healthy sleep cycle making it much easy to dive right into bed when you touch down.
During Your Flight
Logically, the best way to avoid jet lag is to choose flights that don’t ruin your sleep pattern. But if you, unfortunately, have to take a red-eye flight and have to fly in the dead of the night, all is not lost. What you can do for your body is to sleep on the flight, allowing your body to recuperate and adjust to the new time zone with ease. Something in particular that you should definitely avoid is alcohol and that would help you adapt to the new day and night cycle in the quickest time possible.
Struggling with sleep? Here’s a tip that you can take away. Try using eye masks and earplugs if you are a light sleeper and worry about the light and noise that air travel might bring. The coldness on the flight is another reason why some people might find it harder to sleep so pack along a warm sweater that you can slip on when the temperatures dip.
After Touching Down
For some, the few hours after landing is a period of disorientation and it is a side effect of jet lag. But if you have landed when it is still bright as day, you should definitely fight the urge to sleep in your comfy hotel room and head outside to reset your biological clock. When your body encounters natural light, it slowly adjusts to the new timing better and this is where a stop at a coffee shop would serve you well. On top of the coffee, the adjusting of your meal timings would certainly help your body get used to the new time zone. If you are hungry, bite the bullet and resist eating heavy meals at odd hours of the day since it could prompt your body into thinking it is still on its previous biological clock. In this case, food would be a great way to help sync your body’s biology with the new environment, so eat away!