Everything You Need To Know About Jet Lag

Imagine that you are just back from your dream holiday. That makes you sad, right? Now add jet lag to it and we know it gets as frightening as it could get. If you fly often, you know it pretty well that the agonizing effects of jet lag ranging from headaches, insomnia and irritability to depression, weight gain and bipolar disorder – are for real. Having said that, it’s absolutely possible to keep these horrendous consequences of traveling at bay. Brace yourselves guys, we bring to you every important information related to jet lag – from how you get it to how you can get over it. Read on!

What is jet lag?

Simply put, jet lag is usually caused when the body’s sleeping and waking patterns are disturbed.Technically speaking, it is a temporary sleep disorder that typically affects those who quickly travel across multiple time zones. Also called time zone change syndrome, desynchronosis or circadian dysrhythmia, jet lag occurs when the body’s natural clock, or circadian rhythm, experiences disturbance by traveling to different time zones. While the symptoms of jet lag are more severe in older people and their body clocks take longer to get back to normal, kids usually go through milder symptoms and recover faster.

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Symptoms of jet lag

The farther you travel, the worse the symptoms are. Another important fact is that you don’t need to be on a jet to get jet lag;you can get itif you cross various time zones rapidly. As many as 50% of business travelers are affected by the jet lag, and it is more common in women than men. No wonder the face of travel has changed a lot and now days it is more about experiential travel, gender and age defined – tours as per the preferences of the tourists. India is undergoing a change where people have started to understand the significance of breaking the monotony of sedentary lifestyles.

A jet lag sufferer may undergonumerous physical and emotional symptoms. Here are some of the most common ones –

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Early waking
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Stress
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Sweating
  • Coordination problems
  • Dizziness
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Malaise (a general feeling of being unwell)
  • Memory loss

How to prevent jet lag

Though getting rid of jet lag takes some time, its symptoms can certainly be reduced. Here are some travel tips and tricks you can follow to minimize the extent of jet lag –

  • Stay well hydrated
  • Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Rest well before traveling.Never travel sleep deprived
  • Avoid overeating
  • Book a flight that suits your sleep schedule
  • Avoid flying tired, hungover or sick
  • Deplane during layovers
  • Take a power nap of no more than 30 minutes. Sleeping longer may keep you awake during the night, in turn disturbing your body clock
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes keeping in mind the climate in your destination time zone
  • Get earplugs and eye masks to eliminate noise and light

How to treat jet lag

Jet lag is a temporary annoyance that will go away on it’s over a few days. But you can definitely speed up the process. Here’s how –

  • Avoid heavy meals or strenuous exercise upon arrival
  • Get some sunlight as it helps you adjust your body clock
  • Use visors, lamps and lighted boxes to reset your circadian rhythms. These help you avoid sleep and stay awake when you feel drowsy, in turnhelping your body adjust better
  • Eat at the suitable time according to your new time zone.This helps your body adjust to jet lag
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) melatonin supplements really help get over jet lag. It basically activates sleep when the body is fighting it. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally released by your body before bedtime
  • If you plan to stay at a hotel upon arrival, ensure that all your room facilities are satisfactory
  • Try to adapt to the local schedule (of eating, sleeping, waking, etc.) as this will help your body adjust better
  • Try not to resort to sleeping pills. However, if you face difficulty sleeping, go ahead with a mild sedative but ensure you have consulted your physician for the same

Have you ever been jet lagged? If yes, we would like to know what you have done to treat it. And if you are planning to explore again – check out the fine details of Indian sub-continent.