Jet lag is the curse of modern jet travel, resulting in loss of working efficiency and holiday enjoyment, often for days after arrival. Jet lag occurs when the body's biological clock is out of sync with local time. When traveling, our bodies are slow to adjust and remain on their original biological schedule for several days. The result is that we feel excessively sleepy during the day or wide awake at night.
People may experience jet lag in varying degrees. In general, the severity of jet lag symptoms is directly related to the number of time zones crossed during a flight. Jet lag symptoms typically last longer following eastward flights. Flying east usually results in difficulty initiating sleep, where as flying west results in early morning awakenings. All age groups are susceptible, but individuals over the age of 50 are more likely to develop jet lag than those under the age of 30. Also, individual susceptibility tends to vary considerably and it is possible that pre-existing sleep deprivation will intensify jet lag.
Lots of us suffer jet lag symptoms including fatigue, daytime sleeplessness or sleepiness, dehydration and swelling of limbs, nighttime alertness (insomnia), loss of appetite, gastrointestinal dysfunction, mood disturbances, difficulty concentrating or focusing and others.
How to minimize or avoid jet lag symptoms? Here are simple recommendations - use them and you will have no jet lag:
1. Eliminate stress and anxiety as much as possible before you fly. Get plenty of exercise before your trip and try to avoid getting a cold.
2. Eat plenty of starch, carbohydrates and greens before you travel.
3. Get plenty of sleep the night before your trip and wear comfortable clothing during your flight.
4. Set your watch to the time of your destination (or home) before you board the plane.
5. Drink lots of water before, during and after your flight - 30 to 50 gram every hour is recommended. The dry air in plane cabins causes dehydration.
6. Yawn or chew gum to alleviate the pressure build-up in your ears, especially during takeoff and landing.
7. Avoid alcohol, coffee or other caffeine products before and during your flight.
8. Eat meals at times that are as close as possible to meal times at your destination.
9. Consider carefully whether you wish to use a product like No Jet-Lag (homeopathic) or melatonin. Be sure to read up on any product before you consider using it.
10. Use earphones to listen to music or earplugs to reduce cabin noise, which tends to be stressful and brings on fatigue. Kick off your shoes and try to get some sleep.
11. Get up and walk around the cabin when possible, or do some exercises in your seat to stretch your muscles and keep your circulation flowing.
12. When you arrive in destination point, try to stay awake until your normal bedtime (local time). This will get you on local time very quickly so that your first full day is not wasted.
Tips: what you do before your trip is as important as what you do during the flight. Avoiding jet lag begins days, even weeks, before your trip. Rest, drink water and keep your blood flowing - the three key things to keep in mind. Try to adjust to the local time of your destination when you begin your flight.