Coping With Jet Lag Symptoms

Millions of travelers worldwide struggle against one of the most common sleep disorders : jet lag symptoms. As many as 94 percent of long haul fliers and flight attendants alike suffer some form of it.

Jet lag actually occurs from an imbalance in our body's natural 24-hour inner clock known as "circadian rhythms" caused by traveling to different time zones. These rhythms are influenced by our exposure to sunlight and help determine when we sleep and when we wake up.

For example, when traveling to a new time zone, our circadian rhythms are slow to adjust and remain on their original biological schedule for several days. This results in our bodies telling us it is time to sleep, when it's actually the middle of the afternoon, or staying awake when it is late at night.

Jet lag symptoms often include fatigue, insomnia, disorientation, swelling limbs, ear/nose/eye irritation, headaches, dehydration, bowel irregularity and lightheadedness. The symptoms of jet lag often persist for days while the internal body clock slowly adjusts to the new time zone impeding both your physical and mental performance. The length of flight you take does not determine the extent of the jet lag symptoms you can suffer, rather the number of time zones you might have skipped. The most notorious jet lags are felt when flying eastward. Traveling within the same time zone, from north to south or vice versa, produces mild or no jet lags at all.

Here are a few helpful tips to cope up with jet lag symptoms :

  • Before departing make sure you have all your business and personal affairs in order. And don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep prior to your travel day.
  • Avoid alcohol or caffeine (contained in coffee, tea, soda, or chocolate drinks) for they only act as stimulants and prevent sleep. Instead drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic fluids like fruit juices.
  • Bring earplugs and blindfolds to help dampen noise and block out unwanted light while sleeping.
  • Try to get as much exercise as you can. Walk up and down the aisle, stand for sometime, do twisting and stretching exercises in your seat.
  • Try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock.

Learn how to deal with jet lag symptoms and sleep better.

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