Jet lag is very familiar for frequent fliers and international travellers. It can cause sleep disturbance, the fatigue feeling during the day, problems in concentration and difficulty in performing normal functioning tasks.
Jet laggers feel sleepy, exhausted, irritable, slow, and a bit disoriented. This unpleasant sensation is the result when you cross over time zones in your travel. The seriousness of jet lag depends on the number of time zones the traveller crosses over, within a short span of time.
All activities of the body fall under the regulation of the 24-hour cycle by the body clock or circadian rhythms. Its processes affect the behavioural, biochemical, and physiological system. However, it is affected by environmental factors outside like the night and day cycle of light-dark affects it.
So how can we beat jet lag........
Here are my top 6 ways to beat jet lag:
#1. Before you leave, simulate your new schedule.
If you are travelling eastward; move your bedtime earlier. Change your schedule, half an hour earlier every night for several nights before you travel. If you are going west, do the opposite. Sounds crazy but this can really help.
#2. Adapt to your new schedule while in flight.
Before getting on the aeroplane set your watch to the local time in your arrival point. If it is nighttime in the place where you are going, try to sleep; if daytime, keep awake. If you cannot fall asleep, just try to rest as much as possible. I know that's easier said than done on an aircraft.
#3. Stay hydrated
To avoid dehydration, drink lots of water before, during, and after your flight. I always say try and avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine on the night before your trip.
#4. Be physically active (when you can!)
Within the trip, walk around and do some static exercises; at least do some stretching on the flight.
#5. Sensible eating
You can adopt a heavy diet days before travel. However, avoid eating a high carb or fatty diet before bedtime as it can disrupt sleep. Keep all this in mind when you are planning to sleep onboard the aircraft. Personally, I like to have a nice meal and then snooze.
#6. Minimise sleep distractions
To help you sleep on the plane and in your destination, use earplugs and eye mask or earplugs to help you sleep on the plane and at your destination. Don't forget these when your packing your hand luggage.
Jet lag can be nasty and I found out that all of the above ways are very useful at beating it.
Here is an example, from my own experiences of time zone crossings. Say I have landed in a new time zone when it is their day time and all I want to do is sleep!!! I do everything in my will power to stay awake during the day light hours and then sleep when it is dark and nighttime.
I program myself! Now it is not easy and takes determination. If I'm staying at a hotel, to avoid the temptation of crawling into bed, I will stay up and go out. Been in the fresh air during the day can always help you sleep at a nighttime. Then once nighttime arrives you can have a long soak in the bath, few chapters of your latest book, and sleep dreams!
If you can not stay awake during daylight hours and have to have a sleep, make it a short power nap and set your alarm so you do not oversleep. Talking from experience, oversleeping during day light hours will only prolong your jetlag.
Remember if you do suffer from jet lag, it’s not forever! It may take a few days to run it's course!
I would love to know how do you beat jet lag?