Medically known as desynchronosis, jet lag is a temporary condition that affects people who are not used to travelling to distant places with different time zones. It can also affect people who are not travelling but whose sleep and wake patterns have been disturbed. Read on to discover 8 proven ways to get over jet lag.
Aside from sleeping problems, jet lag can also cause:
- Memory loss
- Inability of focus
- Malaise (general feeling of not being well)
The Causes of Jet Lag
One of the most common causes of jet lag is a disturbance in your circadian rhythm, commonly known as your body clock. Your body clock is responsible for important functions in your body like your bowel movement and sleep-wake pattern. Your circadian rhythm usually goes haywire when you travel across several time zones where your body goes out of sync with your destination’s timezone.
Another popular cause of jet lag is sunlight. Light helps regulate your body’s production of melatonin --- an important hormone that keeps your body in sync. During night time, your body, particularly your pineal gland, produces more melatonin to help you sleep. Melatonin production during the day is minimal. Jet lag occurs when the normal melatonin cycle gets disturbed by sunlight or intense light.
How Long Does Jet Lag Last?
Studies show that the human body adjusts to time zones at a rate of up to two time zones a day. This means that the more time zones you cross, the more time your body needs to adjust. For example, if you crossed six time zones in your trip, your body will need up to five days to fully adjust to the local time.
Jet lag is usually temporary and complications resulting from jet lag are extremely rare.
Proven Ways to Get Over Jet Lag
You can help your body get over jet lag quickly. From simple tips to taking jet lag treatments, below are 8 proven ways to get over jet lag:
1. Just relax on the first few days
Whether you are travelling for work or vacation, it helps to give your body some time to adjust. Avoid stressful activities until the third or fourth day. Long flights can take a toll on your body. The stress is even worse if the weather in your origin is cold and the weather in your destination is hot. Let your body acclimatise.
2. Drink lots of fluids
Not sure if you’ve noticed it but the air inside the aeroplane is usually dry --- causing your skin to lose a lot of moisture. If you are on a long flight, keep your water levels healthy by drinking a glass of water every once in a while. You can also bring an insulated water bottle with you which is great for keeping water fresh and cool for extended periods of time.
Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages (e.g. soda, coffee, and tea) during your flight. These drinks can dehydrate you real fast -- making it harder for you to overcome jet lag when you reach your destination. Just drink juice and water.
3. Change the time in your watch to the new time zone
You start adjusting to your new time zone while on the plane. So, as soon as you are in the air, set your watch to your destination’s time zone. This should help you mentally prepare for the new rhythm once you land. If it's daytime in your destination, stay awake as much as possible. If it’s nighttime, grab some sleep during your flight. Sleeping should not be a problem because aeroplane cabins are usually dimmed during flight. Staying awake can be challenging but you can do it!
4. Consider an overnight stopover
If you are travelling east and you have some time to spare, consider booking an overnight stopover to break your long-distance flight. Not only can you visit beautiful cities (think of Bangkok, Hongkong, Taipei, Singapore, etc.), you also give your body time to relax and acclimatise.
During your stopover, explore, eat good food, and relax so you feel invigorated when you take your next flight.
5. Adapt your body to your new sleep-wake cycle
How you spend your time on the plane will determine your sleep-wake cycle once you arrive at your destination. If you are travelling east, sleep on the plane. You can fall asleep easier if you wear comfortable clothing. Some cushions and a pair of earplugs will be great too!
If you are travelling west, you will want to stay awake. A great way to do this is to book a plane with good inflight entertainment. If you’re on a budget, bring your favourite movies or a TV series with you.
6. Live like a local
Living in the local timezone is key to getting over jet lag right away. While it’s tempting to sleep in your hotel room once you arrive, resist the temptation at all cost. Instead, leave your things and grab a coffee. Go out, explore, and make yourself comfortable. Avoid thinking about home. Grab breakfast even though it's dinner time at home. Remember that jet lag is just a mind game!
7. Go dark or go bright
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake pattern. Sunlight inhibits melatonin production that’s why you are wide awake during the day. At night, your body produces lots of melatonin to help you fall asleep.
If it’s morning in your destination, get as much sunlight as you can. If it’s evening, go somewhere dark so you can fall asleep easily.
8. Take Circadin
Circadin is a jet lag treatment that you can order from Express Pharmacy. This drug contains the hormone melatonin which helps regulate your body clock and treat the symptoms of jet lag. You can buy Circadin from us today.