Disorientation, fatigue, and excessive tiredness are only a few signs and symptoms of jet lag. Your body clock is incredibly sensitive to factors from sunrise and sunsets, and even the most experienced traveler has endured mild and severe forms of this imbalance of natural rhythms.
When you are experiencing jet lag, your core body temperature is simply in a flux; it is trying to adjust to a sudden change in environment, season, and time, often spurred by crossing a time zone and quickly engaging in regular activities. The disruption is a dramatic response to the environment; some people learn to adapt quickly, while others take longer and require lots of rest.
The severity of jet lag affecting you is determined by your direction of travel. Studies have shown that flying westward is better for you in the short and long-term than flying eastward. In general, a 3-hour plus time shift will result in a high degree of jet lag, but a 12 hour time shift won’t create much of an imbalance.
Sleep and exercise are also critical components to consider in your jet lag defense strategy. Engage in small and frequent stretching and exercise during your flight to encourage blood flow and overall circulation. You’ll benefit from some refreshed breathing once off the plane, but do take some steps to breathe deeply and completely during the flight. Fresh oxygen will help you recover more effectively when you land.
Resetting your body clock is the best step you can take to accommodate for jet lag-related confusion and disruptions. If you can follow your new time zone’s schedule for a few days before the flight, you might be able to discourage the overall ‘impact.’ Exposure to bright and artificial lights to imitate ‘day’ and completely switching off to imitate ‘night’ may help you get into a natural rhythm quickly.
On average, it can take approximately one week to nine days to recover and adjust from jet lag. The changes don’t have to ruin your vacation or business trip, as you can consider the following additional suggestions:
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Stay well-hydrated. It’s easy to forego adequate nutrition and water intake while traveling, but dehydration will only contribute to fatigue.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Exercise on board: do take a small walk and stretch, especially on longer flights
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Eat on schedule: Try to coordinate meals in accordance with your new time zone’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner schedules. This will help you sleep better as well, as you won’t be forced to get a ‘good night’s rest right after ‘breakfast!’
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Calculate the time zone: Use websites such as the BodyClock.com to find out exactly what time zone you’re heading into and how many you’ll be crossing
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Take advantage of earplugs and eye pillows to encourage sleep when you need it