Combat Jet-Lag Naturally

Combat Jet-Lag Naturally

I just returned from a trip to Scotland and Ireland. I was in Scotland first for my cousin's wedding then I flew over to Ireland for 10 days. I didn't have a great deal of time to adjust to the time zone change between arriving in Glasgow and the wedding. So I started preparing a week or so before leaving to try to minimize the impact of jet-lag. The body has an internal clock which becomes disrupted when we travel across time zones. This is referred to as 'jet-lag' with common symptoms including feeling the need to sleep during the day, being unable to sleep at night, inability to concentrate and general fatigue. Jet-lag tends to be a problem if four or more time zones are crossed, and the effects are generally worse travelling eastwards as it seems our bodies cope better with a lengthening day (travelling to the west) than a shortening day (travelling to the east). Here are a few steps you can take which may help reduce symptoms:

  • Make sure you are well rested prior to your trip.

  • Proper hydration is essential, especially since aircraft cabins can be so dry. Be sure to drink lots of water in the days leading up to your trip, as well as during your flight and at your final destination.

  • Eating light meals is important, heavy meals are a lot of work to digest and can increase feelings of exhaustion. Taking healthy snacks for the flight can save you from eating heavy airplane good, which, let's face it, rarely tastes good and almost never leaves you feeling good.

  • Avoid alcohol, particularly while on the plane. Alcohol causes dehydration, and of course arriving at your final destination with a hangover is not ideal.

  • Caffeine also causes dehydration, so avoid having too many cups of coffee or tea while on your flight, enjoying water instead.

  • If you’re taking an overnight flight, do your best to sleep. Take a comfy travel pillow, earplugs and a sleep mask to block out noise and the lights in the cabin.

  • Once at your destination, try taking a hot bath or shower before going to bed. This will help you unwind and the change in temperature once you get out of the bath or shower can promote sleepiness.

  • Melatonin is a hormone the body makes that regulates the cycle of sleeping and waking. Taking melatonin may help "reset" your sleep and wake cycle. Try taking 2 - 3 mg. of melatonin 2 hours before bedtime, allowing your body to absorb it, and try to sleep for 8 hours. You can do this for the first couple of nights at your final destination to help your internal clock adjust.

If you're going on a vacation you will want to have an enjoyable trip filled with laughter and new memories to cherish forever, or if you're going on a business trip, you'll want to make sure you're alert for all of your meetings, so doing all that you can to fight off jet-lag naturally is a great way to ensure this.

The information contained here is for educational & informational purposes only and is not meant to replace medical advice or to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any condition or illness.

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