Jet lag is something that has been around for as long as the airplane. The first documentation of the term started in the 1960s and people have been trying to solve this problem ever since. The issue of jet lag happens because we use incredibly fast modes of transport to cross time zones. Our bodies think they are in one time zone while in reality, we are in a very different one. This has a drastic impact on our circadian rhythm and can leave us feeling pretty strange as a result. Read on for tips on how to defeat jet lag.
Your circadian rhythm is the internal body clock that regulates the sleep/wake cycle and repeats based on each rotation of the Earth (roughly 24 hours). It is this circadian rhythm that we sleep according to, it is this circadian rhythm that our bodies release hormones too and more. When we upset our circadian rhythm it can cause us to miss sleep and to have a hormone imbalance. It is also well documented that flying east is harder for the body clock than west. Traveling east shortens days while traveling west lengthens them. This means that going east means your circadian rhythm needs to catch up more.
To defeat jet lag the first step is to prepare for it. If you know you are going to be flying across time zones then don’t wait until you arrive in your new destination and realize you just woke up and it is time for bed, this is poor planning. Before you set off on your journey change your clock, watch, and smartphone time to the new destination and start to act according to the new destination schedule. If you are on a long flight this is even easier because you can sleep or stay awake as you please. If it is night time when you leave but it is morning at the destination you are going to then you can’t sleep. You need to stay awake until it is night time in your next destination.
You should also plan your meals according to your next destination. You have two options here. One is to again eat according to your destination time zones. This means that if the airline is serving dinner but according to your schedule you should be asleep, then you should skip that meal. Many jet lag experts actually think you simply shouldn’t eat at all until your new destination. The food that planes serve is very high in processed additives and carbs and is not good for adjusting to your new rhythm. A nice idea might be to fast for the duration of the flight and have a big breakfast when the time is right in the new destination.
While we all love watching movies on the flight you should be careful of binging the entire time. The light from the screen will keep you awake and confuse your body into thinking it is daytime. You are already trying to convince your body about a one-time zone shift so use the screen to your advantage in that regard, not to your detriment.
Other things that jet lag experts advise is to have a good workout when you arrive in the new location it will give your body a kick that will help it to get into gear faster. If it is daylight when you arrived walk outside and look at the sky. Then when you wake up and it is the morning, walk outside and look at the sky. They say this helps tell your body what new clock to follow as the body knows what daylight means.
If you follow all of these steps you can walk off your flight already prepared for the new time zone. In many cases, if the flight is long enough you may have already gone through the sleep issues and come out fresh the other side. With great planning, jet lag can become nothing but a good night’s sleep.