Those who suffer from jet lag will experience abnormal sleep patterns accompanied by drowsiness, fatigue, lethargy, and irritability. These symptoms can even worsen particularly if more time zones are passed by rapidly during your travel duration. Based on research, this sleep disruption takes place in two separate but interconnected groups of neurons.
It is said that age has something to do with the gravity of the symptoms in this condition. Older people will experience more severe symptoms than the younger ones. Their body clock will also take longer to get back to its normal functions. For children and younger adults, the symptoms are milder and the recovery from this condition is quicker.
The following are the common symptoms of jet lag. However, these symptoms may vary depending on several occasions such as the number of zones travelled by, the age, the condition of the health of the person, medications being taken, consume of alcohol before and while on the flight, the amount of food taken, and the amount of sleep the person took during the flight. Symptoms include:
• Headache and head that is feeling heavy
• Poor concentration
• Loss of appetite
• Forgetfulness and confusion
• Gastrointestinal problems like constipation or diarrhea
The effects of travelling rapidly through places with different time zones affect our body in a way that our biological clock could become out of sync. This is due to the experience in the fast changes of daylight and darkness cycle. Aside from the body clock, the effects will connect to the disruption of our natural circadian rhythm which contributes to our sleep-wake cycle, eating and working, and hormone regulation as well as body temperature.
Furthermore, when one travels from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere in a single journey, it will also add up to the problem not only because of the huge difference in time zone but also because of the huge difference in the season. This has great effects in the body as it may need time to adjust. Short trips however of person traveling from one place to another where time zones are slightly different will not cause jet lag.
Another cause linking to jet lag is the environmental levels of oxygen. It says that an airplane’s cabin air pressure is comparatively lower when at sea level. This means that the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain of the person travelling may be reduced. This is associated with the symptoms of being lethargic which could also result in a higher risk of severe jet lag symptoms than the normal.
Home Remedies to Treat Jet Lag and Put You Back to Normal Sleep
Taking medication for sleep problems may not be the best solution when treating symptoms of jet lag since it’s the body’s natural way of coping through the changes that has to be addressed. Chemical-based treatments can have negative effects so it is important to know the natural remedies first before deciding on over-the-counter sleeping pills.
The use of this herb is recommended for its natural effects in sleep aid. The roots of this plant, when boiled into tea, help cure long-term insomnia and severe jet lag symptoms. It gives you an improved quality of sleep and can also help you fall asleep faster at night. Drink the recommended dose (200mg to 800mg) before going to bed.
2. Avoid too much alcohol consumption during flight
We all know that alcohol has a downing effect in the body and consuming it excessively before and during the flight can greatly affect sleeping pattern. Furthermore, alcohol intake can lead to dehydration and the chance of intoxication is much higher because of the atmospheric pressure in the air compared to when you are at the ground.
3. Drink a lot of water
Aside from keeping you feeling refreshed from time to time during your long travel, drinking plenty of water will also help you avoid dehydration that can be caused by the dryness in the air when inside a travelling aircraft. Water will be the most recommended over fruit juices and tea. It will also keep your body well and provides proper oxygen circulation in the brain and body while travelling by air.
4. Eat light meals
Feeling full and bloated due to eating heavy meals can aggravate the symptoms of jet lag. Our digestive system has an important role in our body clock that is why keeping a light diet while you are travelling is necessary to help easily overcome jet lag symptoms. Light meals include fresh fruits and vegetables. Vegetable mix is a very good in-flight meal as it is very light in the tummy and easy to digest. Eating light is recommended but do not starve yourself or else you will get dizzy and uncomfortable during the entire flight. Eat whenever you are hungry just as long as you keep it light.
5. Avoid Coffee
This drink must be avoided as this will not help you regulate your sleep. However, if you find yourself needing to drink a cup of joe during flight it is important that you pick the right time to do it. The most recommended is during the morning of the time zone of the place you are going to. Doing this will help your body to hit the correct rhythm and will make the symptoms of jet lag milder once you reach your destination.
6. Avoid taking sleeping pills
Taking pills will help you fall asleep faster but this will not help you solve jet lag problems because this will only give you unnatural sleep. This will even make your jet lag symptoms worse like grogginess, series of headache, and the lack of the ability to sleep the natural way during the flight. Resorting to sleeping pills can also affect your blood circulation and can potentially harm your health.
7. Wear sunglasses
If your place of destination is currently on a night mode but the plane you are in is passing through a place where the sun is in full shining mode, you can wear sunglasses to make sure that you are seeing dim lights. This will help condition yourself once you get to your landing point.
8. Take power naps
This is also called strategic napping and is very effective in recharging your body. A power nap usually takes only 15 to 20 minutes and nothing less or more than that. This will give you a slightly energized feeling like the normal and provides you with enough energy to function well. The best time to do power naps during or after flight is at night time of the time zone you are travelling to.
Take an exercise whenever you have the chance to do so. When you are in stop overs you can walk around the area to help blood circulation up and running properly from prolonged sitting. You can also do some stretching while in flight.
10. Taking Shower
When you have the chance to take a shower during extended stop overs, you may do so. This will help you freshen up and helps muscles and blood circulation to properly function.
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