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How To Beat Jet Lag – Understanding The Symptoms And Risk Factors


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December 6, 2022

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How To Beat Jet Lag – Flying to and from another country can be fun, but regardless of whether you will be traveling because of business or pleasure, we all suffer from one thing and that is jet lag. Those who have been flying frequently often have to deal with this phenomenon, so let’s find out what it really is.

What Is Jet Lag?

What is jet lag? Jet lag is a type of sleep disorder that is brought about the ever-changing time zone when we travel. Before, jet lag was seen merely as someone’s state of mind when traveling, but studies have shown that this condition is triggered because of the imbalance to our circadian rhythm or body clock ever since we often encounter new time zones when we travel. The problem with traveling to a new country that has a different time zone is that our biological clock is still in local time and may take several days for it to adjust. This causes our sleep time to be altered because it is still used to your previous time. [1]Now that you can define jet lag, another question is, “What jet lag symptoms will you be experiencing?”

Jet Lag Symptoms

Suffering from jet lag is not really a fun experience because of several jet lag symptoms. What jet lag symptoms should you watch out for? Aside from the usual insomnia and fatigue, you should expect jet lag symptoms such as anxiety, diarrhea, headache, indigestion, memory loss, daytime sleepiness, and coordination problems just to name a few. You don’t really need to have a doctor check you out because you are jet lagged since these jet lag symptoms will eventually disappear.

How Long Does Jet Lag Last?

How long does jet lag last? Jet lag tends to last only a few days depending on the number of time zone that you have crossed during your travels. Usually, your body will be able to adjust to the new time zone that you are in at one to two time zones every day. This means that if you have crossed six time zones, it will take 3 to 5 days before your body clock has adjusted and the symptoms of jet lag disappear.

Frequent flyers know that traveling west to east will make them feel the toll of jet lag worse compared to traveling from east to west since the former reduces the recovery time. Going on a westward travel, on the other hand, means that you will be setting your time backwards which gives your body ample time to recover from the long-haul flight

How To Prevent Jet Lag

For those who are going to a different time zone, you’re probably wondering how to prevent jet lag. Since our circadian rhythm can go out of whack because of a long flight to a new time zone, you need to take steps to reduce the effects of jet lag as much as possible. Here are a few suggestions on how to maintain your sleep-wake cycle as close to your current sleep pattern even when traveling.

Drink more water

If you want to prevent jet lag, you might want to drink more water to avoid dehydration.

Adjust your circadian clock

For those who will be traveling east, you can reduce the effects of jet lag by going to bed and waking up earlier so that your body will be adjusted to the new time zone.

Skip strenuous workout

Once you have arrived in your destination, give your body time to rest after your flight before doing anything strenuous. This will help prevent aggravating the symptoms of jet lag.

How To Beat Jet Lag

Is there any jet lag cure that you should know of? Some recommend melatonin for jet lag since melatonin plays a part with our circadian rhythm. It is believed that taking melatonin supplements can help with jet lag. However, there is much debate on the efficacy of melatonin supplement since half of melatonin users noticed positive effects in their circadian clock while others didn’t notice any changes.

For those who are wondering how to deal with jet lag, finding jet lag remedies may be of good use. Here are a few jet lag tips and tricks that may be used.

Natural light therapy

How To Beat Jet Lag – It appears that exposing yourself to sunlight may help with your circadian rhythm. For those who will be traveling west, get bright light in the morning at your destination then avoid light exposure in the afternoon and in the evening. On the other hand, if you are traveling east, skip light exposure in the morning then get as much as light as you can possibly get in the afternoon as well as in the early evening. The light can help adjust your circadian rhythm so you can adjust to the new time.

Prescription medication

How To Beat Jet Lag – There are jet lag pills that may help beat jet lag but you will have to discuss this with your doctor first so you will know when to take it especially when you will be traveling to multiple time zones so you will fall asleep easily in time with your circadian body clock.

Anti-jet-lag diet

How To Beat Jet Lag – There are frequent fliers who recommend follow the jet lag diet to those who are wondering how to get over jet lag. They said that you should have heavy meals a few days prior to your flight then go on fasting mode on your flight. Experts recommend that you skip fatty foods or eating a heavy meal close to bed time as this can disrupt your sleep. [4]

Jet lag calculator

How To Beat Jet Lag – If you are not sure how much time you need to prepare for your flight to reduce the effects of jet lag on your body, the jet lag calculator can come in handy. This calculator will tell you how much time your body needs to adjust so that your internal clock or circadian rhythms will be ready for your new destination.

Jet Lag Recovery

Jet lag can happen even to those who have been flying frequently, but short of avoiding traveling altogether, learning how jet lag recovery works may alleviate the disruption to your night’s sleep. If you want to get a good night’s sleep in spite of the fact that your flight is taking you to the east, you can combat jet lag with these tips.

Follow social schedule

To avoid social jet lag, you might want to stick to the social schedule in the country that you are visiting. This will help your body adjust quickly to the new time zone thanks to your circadian rhythms.

Follow your sleep hygiene

It’s quite normal that you will feel ready to take on the day after your flight, but this can only make your jet lag worse. To ensure that you’re going to have a good night’s sleep, you should follow your sleep routine and avoid drinking caffeinated drinks. Turn off the light in your bedroom so your sleep will not be disrupted.

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