What Does Jet Lag Mean?Jet lag may feel like a curse thrown upon you or a bad hangover, but when you understand it, jet lag is quite natural and logical. Our bodies are biologically programmed and habitual to do things in a 24-hour cycle, such as eating, working and sleeping. This is also called a circadian rhythm. When we fly through different time zones, our bodies take time to adapt to it because it messes up the circadian rhythm. This is why indigestion, fatigue, lack of sleep, or sleep deprivation are common symptoms of jet lag. Different people have different effects of jet lag on their bodies. So while some may not face jet lag at all, others might take few hours or 2 to 3 days to get cured of it.
Symptoms of Jet-lagJet lag will most obviously present itself through sleep problems. However, the following are the symptoms of jet-lag:-
- A sense of malaise and tiredness
- Irritability and mood swings
- Digestive problem
- Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
- Excessive sleeping and daytime sleepiness
- Trouble in staying alert
Jet lag cannot ruin your trips so here are few tips to avoid jet lag and deal with it after, and during your flight:
1. Adjust Your ScheduleIt is better to start adjusting your schedule and adapt to the destination's time zone before travelling so that you don't have to do it at the end moment. This can be done by sleeping a half hour early every day if you are travelling east and half hour late if you are travelling west. Try to keep your schedule relaxed before your flight so that it gets easier to reorganise with the new one. Hence, avoiding jet lag.
2. Sleep During The FlightThere's not much that you can do on a 12 to 16-hour flight except for reading or watching something for a while and then dozing off. If you sleep through your flight, you'll end up feeling fresh when you arrive at your destination, giving you ample time to get out and explore the new city.
3. Avoid Arriving At Night TimeYour flight arrival time has a lot to do with jet lag. If you sleep through your day flight and arrive during night time, you'll end up not sleeping the whole night. This will just screw up the following day. On the contrary, arriving during the day, when the sun is shining bright will gives you a boost to head out and get started with your much-awaited trip.
4. Choose The Right LayoverMost of the long duration international flights have a layover in between. Choosing a long stopover will help your body destress from sitting in a congested aeroplane seat from long and also help you adapt to a new time zone. In addition to this, long stopovers are also economical, and you will see a significant price drop in your airfare upon choosing one. Travelling on a tight budget? Choose a longer layover period.
5. Don't Drink And FlyThe first thing that comes into your mind the moment you arrive at the airport is to hit the bar. Don't. It is not worth a shot! The effects of alcohol at altitude will only escalate fatigue and dehydration, making it impossible to avoid a jet lag rather than curing it.
6. Coffee? No, PleaseNot only coffee but all caffeine-heavy drinks including energy drinks, colas, tea, etc. must be avoided as well. Why? You may ask. It is because drinks like these will keep you up and energetic during your flight and the opposite by the time you land. The lack of sleep and tiredness will increase the jet lag recovery time too.
7. Water Is Your Best FriendSo alcohol, sodas, coffee, and energy drinks are a no go. What's left? Good old water. While alcohol and coffee cause sleep-related issues and dehydration, water is the best solution for it, before, after, and during the flight, drink lots of water to stay hydrated and counter the inevitable jetlag.
8. Exercise, Not Extra FriesHealthy eating habits and exercise keeps you in shape and also helps you fight jet lag when the time comes. Eating good food means a healthy stomach, and this prevents indigestion. Coupled with some exercise ? not sitting for too long, taking a stroll now and then, static exercises, and stretching on the flight will increase the jet lag recovery time.
9. Get In The Shower Before You Get In The BedA hot bath naturally induces sleep by easing sore muscles, when travellers tend to get after a long and exhausting flight. A hot and steamy shower will help you unwind and ease jet lag. Curl up with a book in the bed after the shower, and you will be dozing off in seconds.
10. Put That Cellphone DownIt is no shock that prolonged exposure to screens that of cell phones, laptops, televisions, E-book readers, etc. cause stress and sleep disturbances among men and women. This only decreases the jet lag recovery time. Instead of binge-watching the latest season of your favourite series or posting #wanderlust selfies on Instagram, try listening to songs or meditate yourself to sleep during your flight and at your stay as well.
So there you go. These are the ten best tips every traveller needs for a quick recovery from a jet lag or avoiding it altogether because you don't want to be the one throwing up in fancy hotel bathrooms on your trip while your friends and family are out exploring and having the time of their lives.