What is Jet Lag? And How to find relive by MD Thordis Berger
‘Jet Lag’ refers to all the ill disposition and bad mood caused by the changes in the time zone. Our organism is naturally programed to undergo a series of tasks over a 24-hour period and therefore develops a sleep-awake cycle that is associated to the patterns of light and darkness in our surrounding environment.
Changing our time zone will often have an impact in this cycle that is also known as our circadian rhythm – and impact many of our physiological processes, leading to the manifestation of different symptoms.
Jet Lag symptoms can be light or severe, depending on the number of time zones you travel trough and your sensibility to these changes. Most common symptoms include: fatigue, sleepiness or insomnia, irritability, nausea, headaches and discomfort.
Tips to ease the effects of Jet Lag:
It’s not possible to completely eliminate the effects of Jet Lag, however, some measures can be taken in order to soften its effects. Of it is a short stay (less than five days) the best thing to do is, once at your destination, to try to keep your sleep and meal hours as close to your everyday schedules as possible. When it’s a longer travelling period, the ideal is to try to progressively adapt your schedules to the ones practiced on your destination in the days prior to your travelling.
You can to some of these adjustments during your flight:
- Consider not eating while on the airplane. In case you are too hungry to refuse, chose light food, avoid alcohol, coffee, sodas, black or mate tea so that there are no interferences with your sleeping pattern;
- Try to sleep during your flight. Use a mask to cover your eyes and earplugs;
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration;
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can affect your sleep, adding to your dehydration and increase your Jet Lag symptoms
- Legs and feet can be swollen during your flight in case you remain seated for too long. To prevent this stand and walk whenever it is possible and when you must be seated move your legs and rotate your feet.
Upon your arrival, try to adapt to your destination’s schedules as soon as possible, sleeping during the nights and remaining awake during the day, following the common meal schedules. Get out and be active during day time. Being exposed to natural light can help you adapt to your new surroundings faster.
Jet Lag is a light predicament that will naturally disappear after a few days. People with steady schedules and routines and elders have a harder time tolerating shifts in day time – night time schedules and can need a longer period of time to adjust. However, even for this population, symptoms tend to disappear after two weeks.