We live in a world of frequent travel. Jet lag is a condition that can occur when traveling by plane across time zones. The medical term for jet lag is known as “desynchronosis”. Simply put, jet lag influences the body’s internal clock. Many people are affected by jet lag when they travel. It can curb their travel plans and even affect their physical health. There are several things you can do to help reduce jet lag symptoms.
Jet lag cause: the cause is due to the crossing of time zones. We have 24 time zones around the world. In the United States, we are divided into four areas; east, central, mountain and peaceful. When you travel, your body has difficulty adjusting to the new time zone. You will adapt but it is a process. For example, if you travel from New York to California, your body still believes it is in the New York time zone. This adaptation struggle is what creates the symptoms associated with jet lag.
To understand more clearly you need to know how body clock works. Humans operate on a 24-hour cycle. This is known as the “circadian rhythm”. The hypothalamus found in the brain is an internal clock. It regulates many functions including the determination of the time of day. This is done in combination with the visual perception of the eye. The signals are concerned and the result is jet lag.
Jet lag symptoms: The net symptoms of jet lag are fatigue and insomnia. Lesser known symptoms can include; dizziness, nausea, constipation, irregular heart beat and headache.
Recommendations: avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages. Before flying, you should stay away from these stimulating types of products. Alcohol can make you feel dehydrated which can intensify jet lag in some people. Healthy eating: avoid eating too few days before flying. You should eat well and give your body the nutrients it needs to be nourished and energetic. Eating lightly on the day of your flight is also helpful. Avoid too much fat or carbohydrates the night before your trip because this can affect your sleep. Keep doing it for a few days after your flight to ensure the best possible sleep.
After the trip: sleep: after traveling you must get enough sleep. There are many things you can do. Work your way through sleep with a hot bath. This helps your body relax and make you feel sleepy. Sleep aids like eye masks or ear plugs can be helpful. Minimize distractions and keep the room as dark and quiet as possible to induce sleep. If it becomes more serious and you can’t sleep, you should consult your doctor, especially if you are a frequent traveler. He or she can prescribe a sleep medication. There are also trained “sleep specialists” who can help with jet lag symptoms.
Change your schedule in advance: the adaptation rate to feel normal again is usually one day per time zone. Let’s say you will go through many time slots, for example a trip from New York to London. You can start a small adjustment before leaving for your trip by trying to restore the daily schedule about an hour a week before leaving. This will reduce the shock and intensity of jet lag that some people experience.
Jet lag is a common and often unpleasant effect of travel. With proper planning you can help reduce negative effects and have a more positive travel experience. Whenever you undertake diet or lifestyle changes, always consult your doctor, especially if you have a disease or are taking prescription drugs.