How can you survive the unpleasant symptoms of a long distance flight? Why is it important, that you minimise the affects of jet lag?
When you finally can set off for a holiday to an exotic place, it can be very annoying, if you spend the first couple of days after your arrival suffering from jet lag, instead of enjoying your holiday. Travelling through several time zones can upset your biorhythm and sometimes it can take several days before you adjust to the new time zone. Crossing only a few time zones can cause problems in your body, however travelling to the other side of the world can really expose your body to some unusual circumstances.
Most common symptoms of jet lag
Sometimes people are unaware that the unpleasant symptoms are due to the long haul flight and due to crossing time zones. Many don’t realise that these inconveniences can be avoided. The most common symptom of jet lag is sleep disturbance. Some are unable to sleep, some are experiencing the opposite and cant keep awake. The second most common symptoms are irritability, feeling unwell and headaches. These aren’t the most desirable feelings on a holiday. In some cases jet lag can cause problems with digestion, which can be also very annoying, when one wants to have a great time on holiday.
The good news is that these symptoms can be reduced with a little preparation and care. If it is important for you to enjoy every minute of your holiday, then help your body to adjust easier to the new time zone. It needs increased attention... Some are more sensitive to jet lag. In some cases, crossing over time zones can be dangerous. Jet lag can sometimes not only be unpleasant, but dangerous as well. It usually affects the elderly more, however there are illnesses and conditions that need extra attention too. Someone with respiratory problems, or with heart conditions really needs to do everything to make the adjustment smoother. Those suffering from high blood pressure are exposed to risk as well. Problems may occur in case of diabetes too. Jet lag is not an illness, it doesn’t need medical treatment, however it can worsen the symptoms of an existing illness.hence it is worth paying attention to the advices, which can decrease the symptoms of jet lag.
Sleep when flying west! Stay awake when flying east! Everyone behaves differently on a long haul flight. Some sleep during the whole flight, some cant fall asleep and watch movies or read. Jet lag can be decreased if you sleep on the flight when travelling west. If it is possible, its worth planning the journey with a morning arrival at the destination. Like this your body can have a similar feeling to after a good long night sleep and waking before landing will be a very normal feeling. When travelling east, you have to do the opposite. Try to stay awake at least for the last few hours of your flight. If it is possible, try to arrive in the evening or during the night to your destination. Like this you will be tired enough to be able to have a good night sleep. You can try to get used to this in the days leading up to your journey. A few days before your travel you can start adjusting your sleep times. When travelling west, try to go to bed a bit later than usual. When travelling east, try to go to bed and wake as well a bit earlier than usual.
Physical exercise helps
People who spend a lot of their time flying due to their work say that exercise can help ease the symptoms of jet lag. You can start exercising already a few days before your travel, perhaps running a few kilometres. It is very important to do at least half an hour exercise after you arrive at you destination. If you don’t have access to a gym or swimming pool at your accommodation, then go for a short run. This can help with your circulation after sitting for hours on the flight. Increased circulation will supply the brain with sufficient blood. During the flight due to the pressure and low humidity, the body’s circulation decreases anyway. Half an hour exercise can help to avoid jet lag all together.
Natural light is important
After a long flight most people draw the curtains in their hotel room and go straight to sleep. This is the worst you can do. If you arrive at your destination during the day, however tempting it may seem, do not go to bed, because you will never get over the jet lag. If you feel terribly tired, have a half hour rest, but don’t make it dark in the room.
The natural light helps our body to adjust to the new time zone. You may not enjoy the first day of your holiday that much because you are too tired, however if you sleep through the first day, your jet lag can last for days, ruining your whole holiday. Even if you arrive in the middle of the night, open the curtains in your room before you go to sleep. The natural light in the morning will help your awakening. You will adjust to the new time zone much faster.
A few more things
There are a few more things that can help the adjustment. Find a few tips below, that can shorten your jet lag. Different relaxation methods during the flight have already been discussed above. It is very important though, that you pay attention to how you rest after your arrival. Try to adjust to the natural light and rest according to the local time zone. Forget eye masks and earplugs. During the flight many try to get over their fear of flying with the help of alcohol. This is not the best idea with regards to jet lag. Alcohol makes it more difficult for the body to adjust to the new time zone. It will be a lot more difficult to adjust to the new time zone, if you consume alcohol during your flight. Similar is the case with coffee. Coffee can hugely affect the length and the quality of your sleep. It’s not certain that you get the same affect of coffee consumption when you are crossing time zones, then in your normal daily life. You should also consider the fact, that coffee can dehydrate (so can alcohol) and so it can decrease your body’s ability to adjust. Eating and drinking can affect the length and severeness of jet lag as well. Try to eat often and small amounts, this will help not to overload your digestive system.
Make sure you drink enough still water on the flight. Considering all the above, its worth being prepared for the jet lag. You will then have more time to truly enjoy your holiday.