If you are a world traveler, and have ever been greeted on the other end with sleepless nights, stomach problems or fatigue then you are not alone. These are all symptoms of jet lag, which is a common phenomenon when traveling across extreme time zones. If you do not get a handle on your jet lag at the beginning of your trip, your vacation might be filled with memories of feeling irritable and tired instead of fun and adventure. So what is the best way to avoid jet lag you might ask? Well you’re in luck! Below are four of the best ways you can beat jet lag and have the vacation of your dreams.
The Science Behind Jet Lag
Before we explain how to get rid of jet lag, let’s discuss what it is and the reason it happens. Jet lag can happen anytime you travel further than two time zones over a short period of time. The more time zones you cross, the more jet lag can affect you. Changing time zones begins to wreak havoc on your circadian rhythm which is responsible for when your body naturally wants to go to sleep and wake up. This internal clock begins getting confused by the changing meal times, light exposure, and trip schedule. It then tries to maintain its normal routine even if it does not line up with the local time leaving you drowsy and low on energy. In extreme cases it can even lead to migraines, stomach pains, and nausea. Although there is no complete cure to jet lag other than allowing yourself time to adjust, there are ways to improve symptoms and get over it faster.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
One of the most important things to remember when flying is to drink water! Studies have shown that airplane humidity conditions are as low as ten to fifteen percent. When you combine the humidity levels with the reduced oxygen levels, airplanes are actually three times drier than the Sahara desert!
This means that on a six hour long flight, passengers can lose over 2% of their water content. This kind of dehydration can cause irritability, decrease immunity to disease, and vastly increase the signs of jet lag.
To avoid getting too dehydrated, it is best to drink eight ounces of water for every hour that you are flying in an airplane. In addition to drinking lots of water, try to skip on the booze and coffee because they will dehydrate your body further.
Another great tool to take advantage of is using natural supplements during your trip. The one that is best for combating jet lag is melatonin. This will help speed up your circadian rhythm’s time it takes to adjust to a new place.
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally occurring in the body, and regulates the cycle of sleeping and waking. Take Melatonin 30 minutes prior to when you plan on sleeping to help promote a restful night’s sleep while on your trip.
Change Your Schedule Early
One of the best ways to ease the symptoms of jet lag is to alter your schedule before your trip starts! Use the week before you leave to gradually move your meal and sleep time closer to the time zone you are traveling to. This will help your body move into the adjustment at an easier pace and won’t cause a complete shock to your system.
If you are traveling east, then go to bed fifteen minutes earlier each night leading up to your trip. If you are traveling west, do the reverse, and go to sleep fifteen minutes later each day to adjust yourself to the time zone you desire.
Use these tips on your next trip to have your easiest transition into your new destination and have the best trip yet!
Author: Lisa Smalls
Posted with permission
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