Travelling long distances across the globe can throw your body’s cycle and rhythm out of the window. As you fly in and out of different time zones, your body’s sleeping and eating patterns will start showing changes. Before your go full throttle on your vacation planning mode, make sure your read about of the one important travel phenomenon – the infamous ‘jet lag’.
What is jet lag and what causes it?
As described by Mayo Clinic, jet lag is “a temporary sleep disorder that can affect anyone who quickly travels across multiple time zones.” When this happens, the body’s circadian rhythms (internal clock that signals you when it’s time for you to sleep or wake up) changes. Now, this body clock is synced as per your original time zone. But when you enter a new time zone, the body’s clock gets confused and starts showing symptoms like insomnia, daytime fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, digestion problems, mood changes, and a general feeling of discomfort.
How to not let jet lag ruin your vacation experience?
Book a red-eye flight
A red-eye flight is an overnight flight that will make it easier for you to reset your internal body clock. This way, you can eat your dinner on time and catch up on some good night’s sleep, as opposed to a morning or an afternoon flight. Moreover, also make sure to move around inside the aircraft as much as you can, if and when you can. This will keep your muscles from getting stiff which can result from sitting in one position for a very long time.
Plan ahead and adjust your internal clock
At least 3 days before your flight departs, start incorporating new sleeping habits in your daily routine. This will not put your body in shock and will help you be prepared to adjust well to the new time zone. For the ones going eastwards, start your snooze an hour earlier than your regular timing, but if going westwards, hit the bed an hour later. If the time change is going to be drastic, you might want to start preparing a week before your departure.
Make water your potion. Before, during, and after the flight, drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated. The air inside the flight cabin is pressurized and extremely dry which will leave your feeling dehydrated very quickly. So even if you do not feel thirsty, keep sipping on some water at regular intervals.
Cut down on coffee & alcohol
Tempted to grab a cup of coffee at the terminal while waiting to board? We say don’t! Try to avoid ingesting caffeine at least 12 hours before the flight. The coffee will cause your blood sugar levels to drop and rob you of your energy levels.
Soak in the sunshine:
Sunshine helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. If you are travelling eastwards, exposure to the morning sun can help adjust your sleep cycle, but if you are travelling westwards, you need to expose your body to adequate evening sun. A light exercise will also help you adjust to the new time zone faster.
Jet lag is a very common phenomenon and is experienced by even seasoned travelers. But these tips will surely help you take corrective measures to help you overcome the jet lag while on your vacation. Trip on your mind already? Take a look at this online trip planner.
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