For a frequent traveler or international traveler, everyone must
have to deal with jet lag. Whether you have an important business trip or
you’re finally taking your dream vacation, don’t let jet lag symptoms –
insomnia, fatigue, daytime sleepiness or mild nausea – drain your energy and
ruin your time aboard.
Why do we get jet
If we understand how our body works then we can easily
prevent or minimize the jet lag symptoms. Our body has an internal clock or built-in
routine for a 24 hour period such as eating and sleeping, known as biorhythm
circadian. When we travel through multiple time zones at high altitudes in high
speed, this biorhythm/ internal clock and external clock get desynchronized or
built-in routines are thrown into disarray. Your body clock (biorhythm
circadian) is not as easy to adjust as just forwarding your wristwatch to the time
of your destination. And such your general health is going to be temporarily
Jet lag can occurs when you travel across multiple time
zones. Jet lags kicks in once you have travelled at least two time zones. The more
time zones you cross, longer and more intense the jet lag symptoms are likely
to be. Jet lag doesn’t just affect different people in different ways. Jet lag
effects can vary depending on our age, state of health and stress levels. Jet
lags symptoms are worse when you are flying east.
You cannot avoid this biorhythmic confusion. Luckily, you
can minimize the symptoms and have most productive time by following these
Knowing how to prepare for a long-haul flight can mean you
start your holiday feeling fresh, rather than fatigued. Having a rigid routine
of eating and sleeping will make it harder to adjust to new time zones. Relax your
schedule during the days before your flight. Gradually shift your mealtimes and
bedtimes that matches your destination time. If your flight is bound east, move
your bedtime earlier and if bound west, move it to later. It pays off when you arrive and also makes it
easier to sleep on those red-eye flights.
Leave your home
Flights are long and flying halfway around the world is
stressful. If you leave your frazzled or you had a farewell party night before your
flight, your body will show the signs in the first part of your trip. Have everything
packed and make yourself feel ready 48 hours prior your flight. With your mind
and body fully rested, you’ll be comfortable about leaving home and starting
Rest and reset
If you can sleep anywhere easily then you are lucky. And if
you can sleep on the plane, even for a few hours, it makes a big difference. If
your arrival is daytime, it is better to sleep during your flight. Choose a
seat that is not near galleys and lavatories and seats that reclines giving you
a bit of stretch.
If your flight time is longer than 8 hours, you can take in
some medication but after consultation. And
some medicine will make you feel drowsy once you have landed. For flights
shorter than 7 hours, it is best to avoid taking in medicine. This will influence in early hours of your
You can use eye masks, ear plugs to avoid distractions and
disturbances for your sleep. You can also wear comfortable clothing and follow
your daily routine bedtime to ease in your sleep.
Don’t prolong jet lag by reminding yourself what time it is
back home. Adjust your body and mind along with your wristwatch to the time
zone of your destination once it has been announced. A warning: don’t get
clever and do this beforehand, unless you want to end up with the world’s most
ridiculous excuse for missing your flight. So set your watch to the new time as
soon as you get on the plane, but don’t lose track of what time your biological
clock is keeping.
Don’t shift time for
short trips i.e. less than 48 hours.
When taking a red-eye to Europe, having breakfast
immediately after waking up on the plane or once you get into the airport –
even if not hungry – will definitely
help adjust your body to the idea of your local time zone.
Get some exercise
Move around regularly and do light exercises to keep the
blood circulation. This doesn’t combat jet lag per se, but it does reduce some
of the scars of travel.
Keep your body hydrated before, during and after your
flight. Drink water as much as you can but maintain it that it doesn’t affect
you during flight. Dry and pressurized cabins can quickly dehydrate you, making
you feel extremely sleepy. Drinking water throughout the trip doesn’t stop jet
lag but it helps make sure dehydration doesn’t compound your fatigue.
Avoid alcoholic drinks and high caffeinated beverages. Instead
of helping you sleep, it may make you feel more awake. Alcohol can also cause
dehydration and increase tiredness, making it even harder to beat the
inevitable jet lag.
Your body functions best when it’s hydrated, so drinking
lots of water is a great way to offset the effects of jet lag.
Avoid overeating before and during your flight. Eat meals in
small portions. A more extreme tip is to start eating three meals a day in line
with the new time zone, even if that means cornflakes at 11pm.
Stay awake until
Do not try to doze off as soon as you land. If you doze off
at 4 p.m. and wake up at midnight, you’ve accomplished nothing. Try to keep
yourself awake at least till earliest local bedtime. This way your body will
adjust or is forced to acclimatize with the local time. Your body may beg for
sleep, but stand firm: Plan a good walk breathing in fresh air until early
evening while standing firm to fight off drowsiness.
Best way to fight off jet lag is to leave your home with
fully relaxed body and mind, get your body and mind acclimatize for transition
into local time. This way you can enjoy your trip the moment you step off the