Jet lag is a physical effect almost all travelers will experience in their lifetime. This temporary sleep disorder is caused by quickly traveling through multiple time zones. Symptoms of jet lag include – disturbed sleep, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and functioning, stomach problems, not feeling well, and mood changes.
With the weather turning colder, Snowbirds from up North will most likely travel down south to escape the snow. We have helpful tips for you on how to prevent jet lag and other ways to recover from it while on travel status.
BEFORE THE FLIGHT:
- Be strategic when you are booking flight times. It is always best to arrive in the early evening of your destination. This way, you won’t need to stay up too much before sleeping.
- Gradually move your mealtimes and sleep schedule closer to the new time zone.
- Avoid drinking alcohol, sugary drinks, or caffeine before and on the day of your flight. These beverages make you dehydrated and worsen the symptoms of jet lag. Make sure to bring an empty water bottle with you to fill up once past airport security!
- Pack the needed necessities to make sleeping easier when traveling. Ear plugs, eye masks, noise-canceling headphones, a throw blanket, and a travel pillow are just a few items that will help.
- Consider purchasing melatonin supplements before the trip to help your internal clock and sleep schedule.
DURING THE FLIGHT:
- Avoid eating salty or sugary foods during travel. A balanced diet can help reduce symptoms of jet lag or fatigue.
- Keep hydrated and drink lots of water. If you did not pack your water bottle, be sure to buy one at the terminal or on board the flight.
- Try to get some sleep.
- Get some exercise, stretch, or walk in between connected flights when you can. A little movement goes a long way in terms of helping with sleep.
UPON ARRIVAL/AFTER FLIGHT:
- Adapt quickly to the new time zone. Adjust your clocks, watches, and eating and sleeping schedule accordingly.
- If your arrival at the travel destination is still during the day, do not stay inside! Move around outside to reduce melatonin production and help the body’s clock adjust. Food also helps your internal clock, so eat a light snack even if you are not that hungry.
- Avoid the urge to nap when you arrive in the daytime, as it will make it difficult to sleep later on. If you find yourself crashing, take a 20–30-minute power nap.
- Exposing yourself to morning light will help if you need to function earlier when traveling east. If traveling west, expose yourself to more light at night to stay up longer.
- Minimize caffeine consumption in the evening and afternoon.
- Avoid any electronics and blue light before bed. These distractions affect your sleep.
- Dim the lights a few hours before bed to help your melatonin production.
- Try to get 8 hours of sleep on the first night in the new location.
Our bodies naturally have an internal clock synced with the daylight, telling us when to eat and sleep. The effects of jet lag may vary depending on how far the journey is. The general rule of thumb is that for each time zone crossed, your body will take one day to adjust. Jet lag symptoms tend to go away after a couple of days. If the symptoms last longer, it could be another condition. Be sure to ask a healthcare professional if this happens.
For more information, visit healthline.com.
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Your Vialux Team