Doctors like to refer to it as desynchronosis, but we know it as jet lag. It typically happens when you travel rapidly across multiple time zones, as your sleep pattern becomes disrupted.
If you’ve visited the US or an Asian country, you’ve probably found yourself lying down with your eyes wide open at night time, and falling asleep during the day. Unfortunately, jet lag is a physiological condition that you can’t avoid without careful planning. Some people rely on sleeping pills to force their body to adjust to the new time zone. You can also find jet lag pills, but there isn’t sufficient evidence that they work. So how can you keep jet lag at bay when you don’t want to rely on pills?
Your internal clock is not in sync with the time zone you’re in. While you can check the time on your watch, your body needs a visual hint. If your flight arrives during the daytime, you can plan a walk across the city to spend as much time outside as you can. Indeed, direct sunlight plays a significant role in helping your internal clock. While you can feel tired, your brain registers the daylight and tries to adjust accordingly. If you’re staying at a hotel, it’s a good idea to leave your luggage and go on an exploration tour across town. If the room isn’t ready when you arrive, you can use luggage storage locations – near train stations and main public transport areas – while you explore the local neighbourhood.
Stay active in healthy doses
Physical activities can do wonders for your health. Being active regularly can regulate the production of stress hormones, so you’re 31% less likely to experience depression. But it can also minimize symptoms of jet lag. Indeed, your brain is quicker to react to the new time zone, and you experience less discomfort and tiredness. Additionally, jet lag tends to increase irritability, mood swing and makes you more vulnerable to depression. Therefore, maintaining a fitness routine before and during your travel can prevent unpleasant symptoms and address potential effects on your mental health.
Create a sleep routine
You can help your body prepare for the change in time zone. If you are staying for several days in a new time zone, it can be useful to change your sleep patterns ahead of the trip. You’re already used to it, so you’re less likely to struggle with desynchronosis. When adjusting your sleep pattern isn’t an option, you will need to adjust in real-time. This can be tricky, as you’re likely to feel exhausted for a couple of days. However, try to go to bed only at nighttime, even if you are tired.
Long-haul flights are exhausting in their own right. They can be dehydrating and lead to vitamin deficiencies. Therefore, you need to make it your priority to eat balanced and nutritious meals at the right time once you land in a new time zone. Drink plenty of water, as the plane air can make you feel dry and tired.
Are you ready to visit a foreign country without struggling with lasting jet lag effects? Help your body adjust to a new time zone with direct sunlight, physical activity, a healthy sleep routine, and a balanced diet. You can’t completely eliminate jet lag, but you can make sure your body is prepared for it.