Travelling is an exhausting process, from finding a travel agency, booking of flights, packing of suitcases, and standing in endless lines, jet lag is another unexpected issue you might encounter.
What Is Jet Lag?
Jet lag is the disturbance of the body’s circadian rhythm that occurs when travelling across three or more time zones. Jet lag can severely impact on your working holidays and travel as it causes sleeping problems, daytime drowsiness, impaired mental / physical performance, and even gastrointestinal issues. Here are a few tips to help you overcome jet lag:
Adjust Your Sleeping Schedule
We know this might seem a little too obvious, however adjusting your sleeping schedule by at least 15 minutes a day, a week before a big trip, will help you adjust better to the new time zone.
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
The simplest rule of surviving jet lag is keeping yourself hydrated. Make sure to keep a water bottle close during flights and the endless queues. You’ll thank us later.
We all know that staring at your phone screen at night is a recipe for disaster when it comes to sleep management however, the amount of natural light you expose yourself to, also plays a role. When travelling from the west to east, one must prepare to start their day earlier because of time zones. Exposing yourself to natural light is an easy way to acclimate to the new time zone however, you do not want to experience sunlight right away. It is more beneficial to take a morning nap, to help you sync into the new time zone and then having extended light exposure the following day.
Melatonin is a hormone in our bodies that has two primary functions, assist in sleep initiation and regulating circadian rhythm. This hormone is mainly produced closer to your body’s “normal” bedtime. Jet lag causes your circadian rhythm to be thrown off, which in turn, disrupts melatonin production in the body. A great way to overcome this is to take a melatonin supplement at the right times to help realign your body’s internal clock. And don’t worry, melatonin can be bought over the counter and doesn’t need a prescription.
Minimizing Jet Lag Symptoms:
- Get quality rest before your trip: Make an effort to begin by getting lots of uninterrupted rest the evenings before your journey.
- Pack useful accessories: Items like a sleep mask, earplugs, and comfy pyjamas are a few examples of things that might reduce disturbances when sleeping in a new environment.
- Refrain from overexerting yourself: Anxiety can interfere with restful sleep and make jet lag symptoms worse.
- Don’t overbook your initial days: Be prepared for some jet lag symptoms and avoid packing too much into your first few days at your destination. Spend adequate time sleeping, and leave room in your schedule for contingencies like illness.
- Drink in moderation: Alcohol degrades your sleep’s general quality. So, it’s advisable to avoid or restrict drinking during take-off and landing.
- Don’t overuse the caffeine: Caffeine might temporarily increase alertness, but take it sparingly. Caffeine overuse can cause jitteriness and may stay in your system for some time, making it difficult to fall asleep.
- Maintain hydration: Because aeroplane cabins can dehydrate passengers, drink water before to, during, and after the journey.
- Eat well: To avoid gastrointestinal troubles, choose lighter meals that are mostly composed of fruits and vegetables to avoid jet lag and lengthy airline travel.
- Stretch often while in flight: This will help to minimise muscular stiffness and lower your risk of blood clots.
- Exercise: Physical activity has positive impacts on the body and mind, so schedule some time for it when you arrive. Although the evidence is conflicting, exercise that is done at the right time may also assist your circadian rhythm.