Even frequent travelers are not immune to one of the most annoying results of flying – jet lag. This unpleasant yet common phenomenon occurs when you travel from one time zone to another distant one, causing a disruption in the circadian rhythm. “Your body has its own internal clock, or circadian rhythms, that signals your body when to stay awake and when to sleep,” explains Mayo Clinic specialists. “Jet lag occurs because your body’s clock is still synced to your original time zone, instead of to the time zone where you’ve traveled. The more time zones crossed, the more likely you are to experience jet lag.” Skycop looks deeper into the phenomenon, its symptoms, and explores the solutions for battling the dreaded jet lag.
How do you recognize jet lag?
Research suggests that the human body can readjust by around 90 minutes a day going backward (westbound travel) and only by 60 minutes when going forward (eastbound travel.) Jet lag may last longer and be more severe when traveling in an eastward direction and the harshness of it increases with the number of time zones crossed.
Jet lag can have many different symptoms: disturbed sleep, such as insomnia, early waking or excessive sleepiness, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating or functioning at your usual level, stomach problems, a general feeling of not being well, mood changes, etc.
How to Fight Jet Lag?
Start by doing your homework. A few days before your trip, start slowly shifting to your “new time” – if possible, try changing up your routine to mirror the one you’ll have after your jump through time zones. Getting up and going to sleep at least a little bit closer to the norms of the upcoming time zones might help your body adjust better.
Say no to alcohol. While you might think that a glass or two on the plane will only help you sleep better, the reality is slightly different. Alcohol doesn’t help you with the quality of your sleep. On top of that dries out your body. People tend to get dehydrated on planes due to lack of humidity in the cabin air, so drinking something that will dehydrate you, even more, isn’t a smart idea.
No sleeping pills, either! Lots of travelers choose the easy way out and simply take sleeping pills. This is definitely a way to induce sleep, but it does not help the body regulate its inner processes or stabilize its day-night patterns.
Light meals. Some research shows that skipping a meal on the flight might be good for your fight with jet lag. Once you’re back on the ground, choose a few light meals. At least at the beginning, you should take light meals over heavier ones so that your body and digestive system has time to adjust to a new “clock.”
Walking on sunshine (oh oh). Sleeping patterns correlate strongly with the body’s day-night cycle. That’s why exposing your body to sunlight after a long flight could help reset your inner biological clock. For the first few days, you should sleep with the blinds open, letting the sun help you wake up.
Take a nap. While many people think that naps are the worst way to battle jet lag, experts claim that naps are ok as long as they’re short. Limit your sleepy times to 30 – 40 minutes and you should wake up refreshed rather than tired.
Sadly, there is no way to avoid jet lag entirely, but these tips should help you lessen the effects of this unpleasant phenomenon. And if you happen to experience a flight delay, cancellation or overbooking on top of jet lag, make sure to reach out to Skycop. Let an experienced claim compensation company help you get your rightful compensation of up to 600 euros.