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How to Avoid the Effects of Jetlag

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Come on, admit it!

You’ve done the unthinkable. You’ve been on a long flight and watched way too many movies and drank too much free alcohol and then felt terrible once you’ve landed in a different time zone, haven’t you?

What seems a great idea when you’re up at 35,000 feet might come back to haunt you when you come back down to earth.

Travelling has become an essential part of business communication. People have to travel from one time zone to another frequently to attend business meets. This is also true for tourists that set forth on round the world trips, where they must travel from one time zone to another.

Frequent fliers are widely affected by jet lag. To understand the term “jet lag” we need to know few things about our body. Our body is a biological clock that follows the schedule as per the time zone that we live in. It is programmed thus to wake up at a certain time, eat and sleep at a designated time and through the day follow work routine.

When we travel from east to west or west to east, we gain time or lose it. Nonetheless, time change can be disturbing as it suddenly throws your body schedule off gear and makes you adjust to eat, sleep and work routine with respect to the current time zone where you have landed. This creates disturbance in your body and the results are insomnia, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhoea, fatigue and irritability.

In order to avoid this, we should prepare ourselves well in advance before the trip and learn how to combat jet lag. There are quite a few jet lag remedies that can help you have a relaxed time after your long trip.

We’ve created a list of 9 ways you can reduce the effects of jetlag for you

1. Set your body clock:

To begin with, plan your trip and see the time zone that you will be travelling. According to this, adjust your sleeping timing as per the new zone. The same applies to the eating schedule too. This way your body will be accustomed to the new time setting and it will not be difficult to mould in the new routine.

2. Early arrival for better adjustment:

If travelling for an important business meet or special event, do make it a point to arrive at the destination a couple of days prior to the scheduled meet. This will help your body to adjust and be fit and active on the actual day.

3. Plan ahead:

Trips can be tiring, especially if you are going on a long flight. Thus, it is advisable to get enough rest before you board the plane and arriving at the airport well before check in time will ensure that there is no last minute rush and you get sufficient time to relax before the check in.

4. Be in tune with new time zone:

Staying on the new time schedule also helps to combat jet lag. Try to eat and sleep according to the destination time and your body will gradually and automatically synchronise with the new schedule. Irrespective how tired you are or whether you feel hungry or not, do sleep when it is night time at the destination and eat when it is mealtime there.

5. Avoid dehydration:

Dehydration is another cause that can worsen the jet lag. Being in a dry cabin on a long flight can dehydrate your body, thus making you tired and drowsy. Drink enough water before the journey as well as during and after the trip. Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine as it causes dehydration and disturbs your sleep. A well-hydrated body is always alert and active.

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6. Right exposure to sunlight:

Exposure to sunlight plays an important role in regulating our body clock. It is instrumental in regulating melatonin hormone that is responsible for synchronisation of cells in the body. Therefore, if you are travelling westward, then exposure to evening light helps to adjust to the late time zone. Whereas, for the eastward trip, morning light exposure helps to cope with early time schedule.

To help with this, make sure you pack an eye mask if you need to trick your body into believing that it is dark outside!

7. Get some sleep during the flight:

As it is, the thought of travelling and the running around associated with it make many people anxious and as a result, one does not sleep peacefully before the trip. Now that you have boarded the plane, catch up on that lost sleep, especially if you are travelling to a destination where it is going to be nighttime on landing. In order to get some ‘proper’ shut-eye on the plane there are numer of things that can help. The main one being a neck pillow! These will not only make you more comfortable in general, but will also help you get some sleep without waking up with a stiff neck or headache!

Packing an eye mask will really help with this, as it allows your body to go to sleep due to blocking out most of the light! Additionally, if you are a light sleeper (or even just a normal sleeper!) pack some earplugs – you can thank us later when there’s a crying baby behind you and you are peacefully snoozing away!

Nonetheless, on the contrary, if you are going to daytime zone, resist the temptation of sleeping, however tired you may feel, because this untimely sleep is sure to throw your body clock off schedule.

8. Be prepared:

Psychological preparation is vital for physical adjustment. Hence, when on board the plane, if you set your watch to the destination time zone, then you win almost half the battle. At this rate, you mentally prepare for the time zone you are stepping in and your body gradually starts responding in that manner.

9. Eat well and at right time:

Adjusting your body to the new time zone not only affects your sleep schedule, but most importantly your eating time- table too. Thus, start having three meals a day in tune with the destination time zone. Sometimes in certain cases, it may mean having your breakfast meal at your current supper- time. Just go ahead with it and you will be surprised to know that your body has already started adapting to the new time. Having said all this, one should really work towards finding a solution as how to combat jet lag because if neglected, it can turn out to be a medical case.

Here are 7 side effects jetlag can have on a person ·

  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Loss of sleep or excessive drowsiness
  • Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea or constipation due to erratic eating schedule
  • Fatigue through the day
  • General feeling of discomfort
  • Loss of concentration in daily activities
  • Poor performance in the work, performing below par of usual capacity

Even though jet lag is a temporary disorder of sleep until such time your body adjusts to the new time zone, it also affects overall performance of the individual and disrupts eating schedule too. Now that we are aware of number of jet lag remedies, it is but a wise option to make note and follow them for a happy travel experience.

Have a read here of our blog on how to be comfortable on a long-haul flight!

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