Frequent business travelers know the complication that frequent travel can cause our bodies. No only do you have to ensure that you have all you gear and the right garment bag for your travel, you also have to ensure your health is also right. Jet lag is a disruption of our body’s normal sleeping and waking cycle. When you travel across two or more time zones, you could experience various symptoms such as insomnia at night, drowsiness during the day, irritability, poor concentration, and appetite disorders. All these are caused by a sudden change in your body’s internal clock. If you travel frequently overseas, you can use these tips and ideas to drastically reduce the effects of jet lag.
Gradually Adjust Your Body’s Internal Clock
At least 5 days before your departure, start adjusting your sleeping, waking and eating times to suit those of your desired destination. You can set your mobile phone’s alarm to remind you about this. For instance, if you are traveling eastward, you should move your sleeping time about 30 minutes earlier for several nights before leaving. Do the opposite if you are traveling westward. It will be easier for your body to adapt to the local time when you reach your destination
Choose An Overnight Flight
An overnight flight will afford you the opportunity to have an evening meal before leaving. You are more likely to be able to sleep through the flight than on an afternoon flight. The arrival time will also be of benefit to you since you will get to your destination in the morning or early in the afternoon. So your body will be able to adjust to the new local time faster. While you are on the plane, ensure that you sleep for as many hours as you can. This will recharge your body and enable you to cope with the strain imposed by jet lag.
Use Natural Light Therapy
Exposing your body to bright sunlight helps you to regulate your internal clock. When you are traveling westward, medical experts recommend that you should expose your body to the bright morning light. On eastward flights, you should get more natural light in the afternoon and evening at your destination. The natural light helps your body to shift its circadian clock. The circadian clock is your body’s natural 24 hour cycle that regulates sleeping, waking, eating, and other natural desires.
Dry air in the plane promotes dehydration and this intensifies the effects of jet lag. Drink water or diluted juice before, during and after your stay on the plane. You should endeavor to take about eight ounces of water for each hour you spend on the plane. Avoid consuming alcohol or coffee because they promote dehydration and disrupt your sleep. In addition, you should take a hot bath before you go to bed at night. This will soothe sore muscles and help you to sleep better.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in your brain. It helps to regulate your circadian clock so that you can fall asleep at night. Melatonin is available as a supplement and it has been used by frequent fliers and airline workers to combat the effects of jet lag. However, its effectiveness is still been investigated by clinical trials. Some doctors recommend taking about 3 mg of this off-the-shelf supplement before you sleep at your destination. Remember to consult your physician before taking any form of medication.
With these tips and recommendations, you should be able to minimize the effects of jet lag even if you can’t eliminate them totally. Always ensure that you arrive at your destination early so you can get adequate sleep and expose your body to natural light before you start any major activities at your destination.