Jet lag has been a bane for many travelers, an inevitable problem that occurs whenever travelers go across different time zone that affects the body’s biological clock. In most situations, the problem will solve itself in a few days, but it’s still a big hassle for busy-bodies who want to enjoy their trip as soon as possible in the best state of mind, so here are some tips for Destination Review on how to combat jet lag.
What is jet lag? Why does it happen?
Jet lag is a phenomenon that happens when the body’s biological clock is disturbed from traveling to a different time zone, this affects a few things like the body’s hormones and temperature.
For those who are unfamiliar, a few symptoms of jet lag include headache, insomnia, fatigue, and a lack of appetite. Jet lag becomes worse when flying from West to East, and can be found to occur more often for pilots and plane attendants. Old people who suffer from jet lag also need more time to recover than younger travelers. So how do you fix this?
Drink more water
Long-distance travel can cause dehydration in a lot of people, and most passengers have a bad habit of reducing their water intake to avoid going to the bathroom. However, the airplane environment is very dry, with less than 20% humidity inside a plane’s cabin, combined with low air pressure from being 2500 meters in the air, the human body will dehydrate very quickly, causing travel fatigue and many other jet lag symptoms, So make sure to hydrate every so often during a flight. Bring an empty water bottle to get through airport security, and after that, you can freely fill it up in the airport terminal.
Manage sleep schedule
Changing your sleep schedule according to the new time zone is one way to manage your jet lag. However, this method can interrupt the logistics and daily lives of many travelers and is only attempted by athletes and business executives who need to keep their minds sharp after the flight. An easier way is to just get plenty of rest before and during the flight. When you board the flight, check if it’s nighttime at your target destination’s timezone. If it is, try to catch some shut-eye during the flight so your body could adapt early to the different time zone.
Get some natural light
One of the factors that affect the body’s biological clock is light exposure. Natural sunshine is great for waking up your body and reducing the release of melatonin – a hormone that the brain produces, mostly when it’s dark, to control the sleep-wake cycle. So the best way to reduce jet lag is to seek or avoid light at the right time depending on where you’re going. When traveling East, exposing yourself to light can help you wake up and function earlier, either by going out in sunlight using a portable light box, which can be bought on the internet. When traveling West, getting more soft light at night can help keep yourself awake better, so you can better accommodate yourself to the new timezone.
Supplement your body with melatonin
Speaking of melatonin, besides using light to control your body’s natural production of this hormone, it is also available as a supplement. Using melatonin at night can help with insomnia, and you can even use it in the early morning to continue sleeping if you need more rest time. However, melatonin should be considered as a last resort, and travelers should not take more than 5mg at a time to avoid potential side effects.
Change your eating time
Food plays an important role in controlling your biological clock. So switching your meal time in advance to make it the same as the timezone of your target destination can help in preparing your body for the new time zone, as well as carefully choosing which food to eat can affect how sleepy you will become. A carb-heavy meal is a great way to boost your energy and help you stay awake, while fatty food can signal your body to become more tired and sleepy. Medicinal food like goji berries and ginger can also help in improving the quality of your sleep.
To conclude, Jet lag is a simple problem that will solve itself in a couple of days. The methods above do not cure nor help you avoid jet lag completely, but they help in making your jet lag experience to become as painless as possible, giving travelers more time to enjoy themselves on a well-deserved vacation, rather than spending several days sleeping or tiring inside a hotel room.