If you taking a long trip, it might happen that you experience a jetlag. Your biological clock gets messed up when you change time zones all of the sudden. This can happen when you go or come back from your trip and it can confuse you for a couple of days. It’s really annoying and one person can experience a bigger jetlag than another. Fortunately, I don’t have a lot of issues with jetlag, but I do notice that the older I get, the more jetlagged I get unfortunately. What are tips to prevent a jetlag?
These are my tips to prevent a jetlag!
What is a jetlag?
A jetlag is a disruption of your sleep and waking rhythm and happens when you, in a short amount of time, mostly by plane, go from one destination to another where the local time is a lot earlier of later than your place of departure. The word jetlag comes from Jet and Lag (Lag means to fall behind).
A jetlag is about your biological clock. We all have one and this clock is connected to your optical nerve. At the end of your optical nerve, signals of bright-and darkness come in, and this way your brains know it is time to go to sleep. This clock gets confused when you fly to a different time zone. Your biological clock expects it to be dark, but it’s still light and vice versa. Organs also have issues with adjusting to a new rhythm. Your kidneys and liver are all of the sudden working overtime and this comes with the occasional side-effects.
Fortunately, a jetlag only lasts for several days and the amount of time zones you travel are an important factor. The bigger the time difference, the longer your symptoms will last. Especially when you fly east (Asia for example), you can experience jetlag. This is because your day is shorter. If you fly west, with the sun, to the US for example, your day is longer and this is less problematic.
Symptoms of a jetlag
The bigger the time difference, the longer the symptoms will last. The most common symptoms are:
• Tiredness and a general lack of energy.
• Less concentration
• Disruptions with appetite
• Sleeping disorders
Tips to prevent a jetlag
Live according to the time zone of your new destination. Adjust your watch to the time of your new destination as soon as you enter the plane. Live according to that pattern. Go for lunch when it’s time for lunch according to your new destination and don’t go to bed when it’s not evening over there. If you are super tired, you can consider taking a 1,5-hour powernap.
It might help you not to drink alcohol or coffee in the plane. Make sure to drink extra water during your flight and walk for a bit once in a while. Because of the dry air in the plane, your body will lose more fluids than usual and alcohol only contributes to this factor.
On the day of departure and in the plane, eat as light as possible. Your body is making new adjustments because of the new rhythm, so your digestion will work slower. Eat as little as possible in carbs and low in fat as well. Meals rich in protein will give you the energy you need.
On arrival, your body needs time to recover. So, if you’re already tired when you enter the plane, the recovery is only going to take more time.
It’s recommended to adjust your sleeping pattern four days up front so you can help your biological clock a bit. If you travel east, try to go to bed one or two hours early. If you fly west, it is recommended to sleep one or two hours later.
For some people, it helps to take melatonin. This is a hormone which plays a big role when it comes to regulating day/night rhythm and sleep. According to studies, melatonin (with a dose of 0.5 till 5 mg) has a positive effect on flights going through more than 5 time zones.
These are my tips to prevent a jetlag! Do you have more tips to prevent a jetlag?
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