Every day, over 44,000 flights are handled by the Federal Aviation Administration. That’s more than 16,100,000 flights annually. While the advancement of air travel is exciting as it allows us to explore new places across the world, humans have yet to master the art of jet lag.
More formally known as desynchronosis and flight disease, jet lag is a temporary condition that can cause fatigue and insomnia. Jet lag can also have other physical and emotional symptoms such as indigestion and constipation, nausea, headaches, anxiety, and irritability.
To understand how to properly address jet lag, it is helpful to understand why we experience it. Our bodies naturally have a circadian rhythm that helps regulate daily activities such as eating, sleeping, and bowel movements. When we change time zones, our bodies take time to acclimate and establish a new rhythm. The transition period can be uncomfortable, with symptoms including loss of appetite, daytime fatigue, as well as memory and concentration periods. Jet lag affects everyone differently and effects can vary depending on age, stress and lifestyle choices.
Tips to Address Jet Lag
While jet lag tends to resolve itself as your body adjusts to its new timezone, there are active ways you can lessen the symptoms.
Loosen your schedule: If you are taking a long-haul flight, make the proper preparations so that you can use your vacation to refresh rather than feeling more fatigued. If you are someone who has a rigid routine (for example, you have set times for eating and sleeping), in the days leading up to your flight, try to relax your routine. Having more flexibility in your routine will make it easier for you to adjust to a new time zone.
Get a good night’s sleep before you fly: The anticipation of a trip can often result in pre-holiday excitement that can make it difficult to sleep. Or, you may think that deliberately tiring yourself out so that you can sleep on the flight is the right tactic. Think again: getting a restful night’s sleep before your flight will actually help your body cope with jet lag after you land.
Avoid flights that arrive at night: While this may not always be in your control, try to book a flight that will arrive during the day. You’ll be much more tempted to go out and explore while the sun is out and you have a full day ahead of you, helping you adjust to the new time zone quicker.
Avoid the bar and caffeine: Stay away from that pre-flight gin and tonic. The effects of alcohol, while you are up in the air, will increase fatigue and cause dehydration. Also, avoid stimulants such as coffee and other caffeine-loaded beverages such as cola and energy drinks. These artificial stimulants will disrupt your body’s ability to sleep and increase jet lag recovery time. Instead, focus on maintaining hydration by drinking lots of water.
Get a move on: Exercise, even a brisk walk, helps maintain circulation throughout your body. While you’re on the plane, take some time to get up, stretch, and walk around.
Eat right: While it may seem a little extreme, some have found that eating according to the new time zone as soon as possible helps them overcome jet lag. That may mean eating breakfast at 11pm at night, but if you are someone who enjoys a before-bed snack, you might not mind too much.
Studies suggest that it takes a full day to recover from each time zone you travel through. And while these tips can help you tackle the challenge of jet lag, it may just be the case that you’ll need to dedicate a day or two on your trip to catching up on sleep and letting your body adjust. If you are struggling to get proper rest, even with these techniques, we suggest trying Level25. Made with a powerful blend of all-natural ingredients including Melatonin, Chamomile, Rose Hips, Valerian, L-theanine, and other plant-based extracts, Level25 works in just 25 minutes to help your body relax and release tension so that you can recharge. It is safe to use daily and the perfect size to throw in your carry-on! Now you’re ready for any challenge jet lag throws your way.