You’ve been looking forward to your vacation for months, but some of your valuable vacation time has been cut short by jet lag. Is it better to say jet drag? (I’m sorry; I realize that was awful.) Jet lag is a form of weariness brought on by crossing time zones. The body needs roughly one day for every hour of time zone shifts to acclimate to the new time zone, which can take anything from a few days to a few weeks.
The effects of sunshine on brain chemicals or neurotransmitters, especially melatonin, synchronize the body with day and night. This 24-hour physiological “clock” is used to time several biological functions. Temperature, hormones, digestion, heart rate, blood pressure, and mental states are a few of them. The term “circadian rhythm” refers to this fluctuating pace of activity throughout each 24-hour period (a “circadian” refers to roughly one day).
The circadian cycle is disturbed by time zone changes. Jet lag can also be brought on by not getting enough sleep before and while traveling. Jet lag cannot be cured, but its effects can be lessened with advance preparation.
Try a few of these helpful tips to prevent feeling like a zombie when you should be having fun if you want to make the most of your international vacation.
1. Prepare Thyself
Only if you have the time and patience to do it will this actually work. Read on if so!
Start shifting your eating and sleeping schedules by an hour or so every few days in the week leading up to your departure. Your body will have a chance to gradually adjust to the new time zone if you do this.
2. Set Your Watch
Set your watch, clocks, and phones to the time zone of your location so you can adjust to the time change earlier. Once you get there, it won’t be as much of a shock, and you can start adjusting your eating and sleeping schedule earlier.
3. Stay Hydrated
You will become dehydrated on a plane because the dry air that is continuously pumped into the cabins is so dry. If the effects of jet lag weren’t already awful enough, dehydration exacerbates them. Water is essential to consume both during the journey and in the days preceding it. Even though juice, tea, and sodas could tempt you, stick to water as your main fluid source.
4. Act Like You’re Already There
Start acting as you would if you were at your destination, regardless of what time it is on your planes. If you already altered the settings on your watch or phone, it shouldn’t be difficult to compute this. Try to stay awake if it is daytime there. So long as you don’t overdo it, coffee is your friend. Even if no one else is sleeping, try to do so if it’s nighttime. Purchase an eye mask and some earplugs to help you with your mission. Turn up your personal air conditioning if you have access to it because it will make you fall asleep more quickly.
5. Use Sleeping Pills…Wisely
It might be worthwhile to take sleeping drugs if you really struggle to fall asleep on airplanes, but proceed with caution. Your body may not move naturally or at all in a state that is close to comatose. This could be harmful since being immobile can result in life-threatening blood clots. Be sure to consult a doctor before acquiring sleeping medications. If you do take tablets, take special care to drink enough of fluids because some of them are anti-histamine variants that can dehydrate you and exacerbate jet lag.
6. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Even though I advised drinking coffee to stay awake if necessary, you must exercise caution. Having too much will further dehydrate you and confuse your body when you land and have to adjust to the new time. Alcohol is also a terrible choice because it dehydrates you even more and has worse effects in a plane’s environment. Do you really want to deal with jet lag and an unintentional hangover? Oh, no!
7. Take a Shower
During layovers, you should definitely take a shower if you have the opportunity. A hot shower can seem fantastic, as we all know, but they also have many real advantages. It aids in reviving your muscles and circulation, which will help you feel much better for the next leg of your travel. After a lengthy trip, many long-haul pilots take showers to reduce the general effects of jet lag.
8. Get Outside
When you arrive during the day, make sure you exit immediately. Even if you’re feeling exhausted, going outside will help you feel more energised.
9. Don’t Go to Bed Immediately
Avoid going directly to bed unless it is late at night. While it may be tempting to go to bed right away, you should strive to stay awake while the sun is still out. Your body will have a harder time adjusting to the time change if you allow yourself to drop off. It will also require more time.
Try exercising in the morning and early evening once your vacation has officially begun. Exercise will get your blood flowing, and the endorphins that follow will make you feel awake and energized for the rest of the day. Exercise in the early evening, rather than directly before bed, will also make you feel more exhausted at bedtime.