After a pleasant international getaway, it is so tough to get back to our normal routine. When you travel between two different time zones, it gets even tougher for our body to make the adjustments. Our body functions in its usual way and when we travel to a country with a different time zone, we have to adapt our body to the new sunset and sunrise times. This difficulty is call jet lag. Though jet lag is not something that you cannot eliminate altogether, there are some ways to significantly lessen the effects of it.
What is Jet Lag?
Our body has an internal clock according to which it functions. It tunes in with the pattern of day and night. The body responds to hunger, sleep time, wake up time, mood, and blood pressure according to its internal clock. Factors like light exposures, meal times, activities ad social engagement regulate our body clock. When the body clock gets disrupted by a sudden change, it takes time to adjust. This disruption is jet lag that travelers tend to suffer from.
Imagine travelling from India to the USA, the time difference is approximately 9-10 hours. So one’s breakfast time is another’s dinner time. Hence, when we travel to different time zones from our time, the internal and the external time zones tend to clash.
Our wake up time becomes our sleep time and our breakfast becomes the evening snack. Our body’s confusion can be handled. Jet lag can sometimes get too exhausting. Especially frequent travelers stay too disturbed because of their messed up schedule due to jet lag.
Tips to Overcome Jet Lag
Here we have got some jet lag tips that will help you the next time you are travelling across the border.
1. Adjustments before leaving
Dealing with jet lag becomes easier if you are making an adjustment before leaving. If you are going to a place that is a few hours behind you, then you must start a similar schedule while you are still home. Start doing things according to your destined place at least a week before travelling. By doing so, the time you will reach your destination, your body will already be working according to the new place’s time zone.
2. Shift your sleep-wake times
When you are travelling from east to west or west to east, your day-night will go upside down. When east wakes up, west sleeps and vice versa. Therefore, if you are travelling east, start moving your bedtime half an hour earlier for several nights before travelling.
And if you are travelling west, do the opposite. Also, try to start taking your meals according to the new time zone you will be travelling to.
3. Adapt while on the flight
On your way to the new time zone destination, start preparing your body on board. While you are on the plane if it is night time at your destination then try to get some sleep while you are flying. If you are not sleepy then at least close your eyes and relax.
And if it is day time at your destination then avoid sleeping while on board. Indulge yourself in any activity or work. This will help your body to begin functioning according to the new time zone you are travelling to.
4. Control your light exposure
Scientifically, light exposure is one of the key factors that trigger our body clock. So manipulating our body by adjusting the light exposure will help you to get over the jet lag. Keep your body in full light even at night if it is day time at your destination of travel. And if it is night time, keep the lights of your room off. Controlling light exposure is an effective way to deal with jet lag. It can be done 2-3 days before the time of travel.
5. Adjust your arrival schedule
If you are travelling for some important work and you don’t want yourself to feel jet-lagged, then it is advised to arrive at your destination one or two days before your crucial day. Your body needs time to adjust to the new time zone. A long flight can exhaust the human body extensively. Everyone needs time to get their schedule back on track.
6. Change in eating and drinking habits
Our eating habits directly affect our sleep patterns. Eat-in a way that your sleep becomes soothing. Eating anything that causes indigestion can worsen your jet lag. Eat healthy food before taking your flight. Also, while you are on board, do not overeat. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, they disturb our sleeping patterns. There is a special jet lag diet. According to which, you have to eat heavy for a few days before travelling and then fasting on the day of travel. This diet seems to help a few people with jet lag.
7. Move around
While you are on board, do not stick to your seat for long. Keep walking after some time. Do some stretches and exercise. Flexing your muscles is very important, it will energize you. So while onboard, keep moving and drink lots of water and relax.
8. Control your environment for healthy sleeping
As soon as you have landed, you must take sleep if you are sleepless even if it is day time. Avoiding sleep can have adverse effects on your body. Make sure your room is quiet and dark. You can also take a shower before hitting the bed as it will soothe your body from a long flight and will help you sleep even better.
Jet lag can make you feel unpleasant, hunger-less, sleepless and anxious. You need to relax as it is all normal and will go away. Now you know how to deal with the jet lag. Do follow it and you will feel better.
Give your body some time to adjust and it will get back to its normal self. Eat healthily, sleep well and relax you will be able to fight to overcome jet lag in a few days time.