6 Tips For Beating Jet Lag While Traveling
Have you ever experienced disturbed sleep?
Have you ever experienced disturbed sleep, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating and functioning, or stomach problems following international travel or frequent flying? If so, then you were likely experiencing the symptoms of jet lag.
What is Jet Lag?
Also known as desynchronosis or time zone change syndrome, jet lag is a physiological disorder that disrupts your body’s circadian rhythms. It occurs when you travel across two or more time zones which results in your body’s internal clock being out of sync with cues, such as light exposure and eating times, of the new time zone.
The more time zones you cross, the worse the jet lag will be. Additionally, traveling from west to east is associated with more severe jet lag. It can take up to a full day for each time zone crossed for your body’s internal clock to adjust fully to the local time.
Jet Lag Symptoms
Symptoms of jet lag vary widely and can be affected by a variety of factors such as number of time zones crossed, age of the traveler, and general state of health. Typical symptoms of jet lag include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of appetite
- Mild depression
- Slight confusion
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
Although you may not be able to eliminate jet lag entirely, you can greatly lessen its effects by following 6 simple strategies.
6 Simple Strategies to Prevent Jet Lag While Traveling
1. Stay hydrated – dehydration reduces your body’s ability to produce melatonin, making it hard to both fall asleep and stay asleep when you want and need to. In addition, being dehydrated often makes the symptoms of jet lag much worse. It is recommended that you drink at least 84 ounces of water a day.
2. Avoid alcohol and caffeine – while it may be tempting to try a cocktail to get drowsy or caffeine to stay alert, these two things can contribute to dehydration (see #1) and negatively affect your sleep patterns.
3. Start your trip well-rested – starting your trip out sleep-deprived will make the symptoms of jet lag worse.
4. Simulate your new schedule before you leave – the long-standing recommendation is that if you are traveling east, move your bedtime earlier by 30 minutes per day for a few days prior to your trip and do the opposite if you are traveling west. New research has demonstrated that that changing your meals to match the time in your destination prior to your trip can help synchronize your internal body clock to help beat jet lag.
5. Try melatonin – this substance is released by your body produced when it gets dark to let your brain know that it’s time for your body to sleep. You may find it very helpful to use a supplement containing melatonin to help you sleep at night when your body is finding it difficult to adjust to the new time zone. BrainMD’s Restful Sleep combines melatonin with four other ingredients to help you fall asleep, stay asleep and enjoy a better quality of sleep.
6. Establish your new routine – one of the best ways to combat jet lag is to get in the rhythm of your destination the second you get off the plane. If you arrive in the morning or early afternoon, resist the urge to nap and do your best to stay awake until the local nighttime. Your body may beg for sleep, but stand firm and force your body’s transition to the local time.
Traveling is so fun and fulfilling, even if it can be a bit exhausting. No matter how challenging, try your hardest to follow these 6 tips and you’ll be living like a local in no time!
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