By Anna Lynn Sibal
When we travel across distances that are separated by multiple time zones, there is always one thing that we can expect to experience when we get to our destination, and that is jet lag. Jet lag, simply speaking, is a disturbance in our circadian rhythm, something more commonly known to us as our body clock. Because our body is programmed to sleep during nighttime and to be awake during the day, speeding across time zones as we do whenever we travel by plane whacks up our body clock.
When our body clock is disrupted, our body shows signs of adjusting to the time. These signs of adjustment can take the form of vomiting, lack of appetite, dehydration, headaches and sinus irritation, but more commonly as manifest as drowsiness and sluggishness. But once the body has adjusted and our circadian rhythm has got its groove back, the symptoms of jet lag disappear.
Sometimes, jet lag grips people so much that it hampers their trip for a couple of days or so. Thankfully, there are ways of dealing with jet lag so that it does not have to bother us so much whenever we have to travel across time zones. Here are some useful tips for surviving jet lag.
Make the necessary adjustments before your trip. Make adjusting your body to the time difference in your destination a part of your preparation for your trip. You can do this by gradually changing your sleeping patterns a few days before your flight. Go to bed an hour earlier each day before your flight.
Take the necessary measures during your flight. Before you board the plane, setting your watch to the time at your destination helps your mind deal with jet lag. To fight against dehydration, which is seen to be a huge factor in causing jet lag, you should also drink a lot of water before, during, and after your flight. Try to walk around and stretch when you are awake to keep your circulation going. Also, get some sleep if it is night at where you are going, and stay awake when it is daytime at your destination.
Watch what you consume on board the plane. What you eat or drink can help your body deal with jet lag, or worsen it. Therefore, avoid consuming alcohol and caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda during your flight. Alcohol and caffeine make the body feel more dehydrated. In addition, eat light meals on board. Eating heavy meals and meals rich in fat, carbohydrates or even protein tend to aggravate jet lag conditions rather than lessen it.
Take pills if you have to. There are research showing that taking melatonin supplements help adjust the body's circadian rhythm. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally secreted by our body, and melatonin supplements are to be taken at least three days before the actual flight. Sleeping pills are also said to help the body deal with jet lag, but sleeping pills should be taken only after the flight.
Arrive a day or two earlier. If your schedule and your budget allows it, you can opt to fly to your target destination a day or two earlier than scheduled so your body can adjust to the jet lag on its own.
Jet lag does not have to be a huge bother during a trip. A few adjustments to our habits before, during, and after the flight does the trick.