Causes of Jet Lag
Have you ever wondered what causes jet lag? When we travel swiftly across multiple time zones, our body clocks get thrown into disarray. The shift disrupts the delicate equilibrium maintained by our biological clocks, leaving us caught between two conflicting realities. Airplanes are notorious moisture thieves, leaving us parched and fatigued upon arrival.
When coupled with excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption during flight, it only exacerbates jet lag symptoms. That’s why it is highly advisable not to consume caffeine or alcohol beverages.
Altitude also plays a role in the jet lag symptoms. As planes ascend into thinner atmospheres, reduced oxygen levels impact our physical well-being, we struggle through fatigueness. There could be a few more medical reasons for jet lag which I am sure experts can suggest.
In this article I am going to give you some basic yet crucial tips on how to handle jet lag issues. Well, you can think of why you should believe in this article. And I will say, I have pretty much traveled enough and had experienced jet lag many times.
I have traveled across the country and to many places on short business trips and certainly for vacations with my family. I have had managed well and now I do not feel jet lag is a major concern while traveling. But yes, it feels a lot when you are traveling with a baby.
10 Practical Jet Lag Survival Guide
Tips for Preparing Before Your Trip
To ensure your trip goes smoothly from start to finish, here are some invaluable tips to consider before you set off on your journey. Whether you are on a dream vacation or traveling for business, the key to minimizing jet lag starts before you even leave your home. You would need to ensure, your body and mind are ready to tackle any time zone changes that come your way.
Gradually Adjust Your Schedule
You would need to start gradually shifting your bedtime and wake-up times closer to those of your destination. This will help reset your internal clock and make it easier for you to adapt when you arrive at your destination.
Staying hydrated is another essential aspect of pre-trip preparation. Flying can dehydrate the body due to low humidity levels onboard. You must drink plenty of water and avoid intake of caffeine and alcohol as they can disrupt sleep patterns and worsen dehydration.
Dressing comfortably can make a world of difference when it comes to battling jet lag and ensuring an enjoyable trip from start to finish. You must look for the climate of your destination and dress accordingly.
Think of considering loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics that allow for ease of movement during those long flights or road trips. Also, consider layering your ensemble so you can easily adapt to changing climates both inside airports and outside at your destination.
For example, a light jacket or a cozy sweater is always a good idea. Another non-negotiable thing while coming to comfortable travel dressing is – footwear. Opt for shoes that are comfortable enough for walking long distances yet versatile enough to complement different outfits throughout your trip.
You must skip the high heels or rigid shoes that may cause discomfort during security checks or lengthy walks through terminals. Sneakers are the best travel shoes, they are comfortable and can blend with any clothes.
Stay Well-Rested Before Your Trip
One of the most important aspects of ensuring a smooth travel experience is to make sure you are well-rested before your trip. Jet lag can be a real buzzkill, leaving you feeling groggy and disoriented when all you want to do is explore and enjoy your destination.
You can minimize the effects of jet lag if you prioritize getting enough quality sleep. Before your trip, establish a consistent bedtime routine. You can also engage in relaxation techniques prior to bedtime like, meditating, reading a book or taking a warm bath, these activities will signal to your brain that it’s time for rest.
During Your Flight
Sleep on the Plane
For some, it comes naturally; they board the aircraft, recline their seats, pop in some earplugs, and doze off effortlessly. But for others, achieving even a few minutes of shut-eye amidst the cramped quarters and constant disruptions seems impossible.
Creating a sleep-friendly environment onboard might sound challenging, but with a few simple tips, you’ll be dozing off in no time. For example, you can use a neck pillow to find comfort during long-haul flights. An an eye mask to block out any lights or distractions.
Avoid Heavy Meals
While airline food can sometimes be enticing with its vast array of options, indulging in heavy meals during your flight may have consequences. Consuming rich or fatty meals onboard can lead to bloating and indigestion, making it even more challenging for your body to adjust.
Consider fueling your body with nutritious options like salads packed with leafy greens and lean protein or indulge in refreshing fruit platters bursting with vitamins and antioxidants. Also, staying hydrated throughout your flight is crucial for combating jet lag.
Reset Your Watch
As the plane takes off, leaving behind the familiar landscape and propelling us toward a different time zone, it is essential to reset our watches. Resetting your watch is symbolic of leaving behind your old routine and stepping into a new realm where time itself seems fluid.
It mentally prepares you for the new time zone ahead. By visually acknowledging the change, you are signaling to yourself that it is time to start adapting to a new rhythm. It is like hitting the reset button on your internal clock.
Upon Arrival at Destination
Avoid Napping Immediately
You are exhausted from hours spent cramped in a metal tube thousands of feet above ground. All you want is some shut-eye to recharge those drained batteries. However, taking a nap right away can disrupt your body’s internal clock and make adjusting to the new time zone even more challenging.
You should try engaging in activities that help reset your circadian rhythm naturally. If exhaustion overtakes you completely, limit your nap duration to no more than 20 minutes.
Jet lag can often leave us feeling lethargic and disoriented, but resisting the urge to collapse onto a hotel bed is crucial. Staying active doesn’t mean hitting the gym or engaging in grueling workout sessions.
You can explore the new place around. You can walk or cycle around and can provide a unique perspective on local culture while keeping you energized. Simple steps like Opting for stairs instead of elevators or walking short distances instead of relying on transportation can gradually invigorate both body and mind.
Natural Light Exposure
One of the most effective ways to combat this notorious sleep thief is through natural light exposure. Your body instantly recognizes this shift in brightness as a cue to reset its internal clock. The power of sunlight should never be underestimated. Our bodies rely on external cues, such as daylight, to regulate our sleep-wake cycles.
So it’s essential to make the most of the sun’s healing rays upon arrival at your destination. Whether you are exploring bustling city streets or relaxing on a tropical beach, you should spend time outdoors and bask in the glow that nature provides.