Who once made a long-distance journey, probably knows about: Jet Lag. If you are used to travel a lot like I do, you are always at risk to be overcome with jet leg and over the years I researched and found some tips that helped me to handle air travel better without jet leg. Now I want to share what helped me with you guys hoping that they will be useful to you as well.
Get off the plane at the destination and immediately enjoy the holiday to the full – this is how we imagine our long-distance travel. But what really awaits you is quite different? As soon as you arrive, you feel tired and limp and look forward to climbing into the hotel bed as fast as possible.
So the question is…
What is a Jet Lag?
The jet lag has spoiled so many long-distance travel. It arises because every human being has a specific circadian rhythm. This is, so to speak, our internal clock and controls among other things about the hormone release, when we awake and when we are tired. In addition, at night, for example, the body temperature drops, and we have an increased sense of pain.
Jet lag occurs when this internal clock gets out of hand when flying into another time zone. If the rhythm is the same as the place of departure, we are tired at the destination, even though the day is bright. At night, however, we can’t sleep because the body is set for daytime.
In addition to fatigue, mood swings, lack of appetite, as well as reduced capacity for performance and concentration are possible symptoms of a jet lag. The effects of jet lag are different for everyone. For some, the internal clock turns after a relatively short time, others need several days to do so. Usually older people are more likely to suffer from jet lag than younger people.
Changeover sometimes takes weeks
The strength of the jet lag also depends on the number of time zones flown over. The further we travel, the greater the difference between inner clock and local time. Accordingly, it takes longer for the two to match again. Even if most travelers seem to have no problems after a few days, body functions and hormone levels may not have completely changed. With a time difference of eight to twelve hours, the body needs about two weeks.
But the direction of flight also plays a role in jet lag. The transition is easier after a flight from east to west than in the opposite direction. Because it’s easier to stay up longer – which is necessary to make up for the jet lag on a westbound flight – than to go to sleep earlier, as is necessary after a trip to the East.
Tips against Jet Lag
The bad news is, jet lag can’t be totally avoided. However, there are some tips, so that the effect does not catch-up with you so strongly. It is important to get the body used to the new conditions at an early stage. If you fly to the west, you should go to bed late on the evening before you leave. On the other hand, before a flight to the east, a somehow premature night’s sleep is advisable. The same applies to the meals, which can also be easily adjusted before departure in the same way.
Whether you sleep on the plane or stay awake is also dependent on the direction of flight. Heading west, perhaps a nap makes sense. This makes it easier to go to bed late at the point of arrival. In general: On the trip, if possible, adjust the conditions at the destination. Sleep in the plane is a good idea, if the destination country is at night, and stay awake, if there is at day-time. The swifter you adapt to your destinations’ time-zone the milder the jet leg symptoms will hit.
Arrived at the holiday destination, try to get as much to sleep as possible and spare. Even business people should not make too many appointments right after arrival. In addition, a lot of outdoor exercise in the sunlight is recommended. Also, important to fight against the jetlag effectively is to drink enough. However, you should better avoid alcohol as well as caffeine drinks as a tired-doer before, during and after the flight. So, say also good-bye to coffee, because fresh juices and/or water is the way to go here.
Drugs? Better not
In principle, you can combat jet lag with sleeping pills. But my doctor advises against it, however. Only in exceptional cases should you resort to medication. It is better to manage the jet lag with the methods described above.
For short stays in another time zone, such as business travel, it may be wise not to re-use the body and maintain the old rhythm. For example, sunglasses can protect you from the light. In addition, the businessmen will feel at least a touch of vacation.
I hope these recommendations will help you during your next air travel trip, so you can relish your stay at your destination to the fullest.
The Cure for Jet Lag – Why suffer when you can enjoy your trip? I owned the earlier edition of this book and it fell apart from use. Save yourself misery and always follow these guidelines. I make a copy of just the pages for a particular time zone and tuck them into my carry-on bag because timing is key for some steps. Well worth any slight bother. I’ve recommended this book to many executives who travel, and they have expressed gratitude. It makes their jobs less miserable!