WHAT IS JET LAG & WHY?
Jet lag is that annoying… very annoying, tiring feeling when you travel. Trust me I know.
Generally the effects of jet lag occur when you travel over two or more time zones. Its all to do with your body clock – or circadian rhythm (for the scientists). Basically when your sleep and wake patterns are disturbed. Your body clock is unique to you, but everyone does have a 24 hour cycle. Eating, sleeping and when to wake up. You’ll be tuned in to your own home time zone when you travel, so when travelling else where, and in a different time zone, your body will be confused. But your brain has understood the time shift, so overall your body and mind are in two different states and causes confusion and disruption, this is jet lag.
WHY ITS HARDER TRAVELLING WEST TO EAST?
Travelling east is harder on our bodies and makes us feel more severe symptoms, this is because we have less time to recover. Going eastward reduces the hours in our days whereas going westward increases them. This means our bodies don’t have as much time to sync with our circadian rhythm (body clock) when flying east. When I travel east, mainly Asia I really do struggle with jet lag – especially when I arrive back into the UK.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Trouble sleeping and waking up
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Difficulty staying awake during the day
- Poor sleep quality
- Memory problems and lack of concentration
- Constipation or diarrhoea
Any signs and symptoms generally get better after a couple of days.
Before travelling it is important to get plenty of rest.
If you want to make extra efforts to reduce any jet lag, gradually changing your sleep regime will help. Such as getting up a few hours earlier or closely matching to your new destinations time zone. If your away for only a few days many people try and stick to their usual time zone no matter the time where you are.
When suffering with insomnia people tend to use sleeping medication, but its usually best to avoid if possible.
- Drink lots of water and hydrating fluids
- Sleep at correct times in the time zone your currently in
- Set alarms to avoid over sleeping
- Eat large meals
- Use electronic devices when or just before trying to sleep
- Drink caffeinated drinks before sleeping
- Use an eye mask
- Earplugs when trying to sleep (very useful!)
- Walk around the cabin when you can and stretch your legs
- Having a small snack or a drink of water helps keep you awake