Jet Lag is Bad for Your Health: Fighting Off the Symptoms of Jet Lag
When travelling over different time zones, it can cause jet lag. The symptoms include sleepiness, impaired judgement, fatigue, digestive issues, irritability, and memory lapses. The symptoms can be more severe when travelling east. To minimize jet lag, limit caffeine and alcohol consumption, drink lots of water, and take naps and walk around the plane a bit every once and a while. It is not a good idea to take sleeping pills, in case there is an emergency.
Jet lag combines fatigue with other symptoms that are caused when travelling through various time zones. It is also known as “time zone change syndrome.
The body has an internal clock that synchronizes with night and day by using chemicals in the brain to release a hormone causing sleepiness or causing the body to wake. The body processes are timed using the twenty-four hour physiological clock. The bodily processes that are timed include hear rate, blood pressure, brain states, and hormones like melatonin which causes the body to want to sleep.
When travelling to different time zones, the circadian rhythm of the clock is disrupted and that can cause jet lag which has not cure. The symptoms however can be reduced if handled properly and with proper planning.
- Digestive issues
- Impaired judgement
- Memory lapses.
Flying east versus flying west
The circadian rhythm, or the body’s clock is less disrupted when travelling west. It is because it prolongs the body’s clock cycles. Eastward travels shorten the cycle and that makes it harder for the body to handle.
Strategies for the reduction of jet lag symptoms
There are some suggestions that can help reduce the symptoms of jet lag when traveling.
- Getting enough sleep before a flight may work to lessen the effects.
- Go to sleep much later than usual for a few days before you leave when flying westward. It can make it easier to adapt to the situation.
- During your flight, try not to drink alcohol, keep hydrated, take a nap, eat frequent small meals, wear comfortable clothes, take walks, wear earplugs and an eye mask, and use a pillow.
Adjusting once you arrive
The body is not synchronized with the new time zone. Several different functions will adjust at different speed and that can add to the body’s confusion. It can take a few days or a few weeks to get used to the new time zone. Here are some ideas of how you can cope with your new time zone.
- Choose to moderate caffeinated beverages
- Get exposed to daylight
- Mimic bedtime routines
- Take a bath and listen to music
- Avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages before sleep
Instead of taking some medication or drinking alcohol to better these symptoms, you should consult your doctor.
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