“Welcome back to your normal life and work” – this is what we all have heard at least once after our vacation. You came back from sunny countries and the sea; everything seems perfect except how you psychically feel. This is a well-known modern term – jet lag. Even though more and more individuals are using this term when they just want to sleep for a few hours after a flight, jet lag happens when your sleep patterns are disturbed due to time changes and abnormal sleeping positions, most often when you travel across at least two time zones. The further your location is, the more chances that you will have jet lag, and the more severe the symptoms will be.
However, the good thing here is that jet lag isn’t necessary. Therefore, preventing it is much easier than overcoming symptoms for many days. And preventing jet lag is easier than most of us believe. Since our bodies are more powerful than we think, we created this guide to help you finally fly as far as you want and not feel sleepy and sluggish after each flight.
What is Jet Lag?
Jet lag is a term used to describe the most common sleep problems (like insomnia or disturbed sleep) as well as a list of other symptoms we experience after travelling a long distance within a few hours or days. Jet lag usually occurs when we travel across more than two time zones by plane. This happens because your inner bodily clock (AKA circadian rhythm) requires time to adjust to the new time zone and sleep and wake cycles at your current location. Jet lag is also known as a type of circadian rhythm sleep issue.
What is a Circadian Rhythm?
Circadian rhythm is known as our inner body clock. However, scientifically it refers to patterns our bodies follow based on a 24-hour day. These patterns create a rhythm that tells our bodies when it is time to fall asleep and wake up. These patterns also affect several key bodily processes, including hormones, digestion as well as body temperature.
It is worth noting that each body naturally sets these rhythms, which are guided by the brain and your living conditions. However, several outside factors can greatly affect these patterns, too. For example, lights, temperature and sounds can change these rhythms.
How Does Jet Lag Happen?
Flying through two or more time zones might damage and change these inner circadian rhythms that your body knows. Jet lag happens when your body is out of sync with the ruined night and daytime schedule when you switch the location. Even though your body will adapt to the new location within time, symptoms of jet lag are unpleasant and, in some cases, last for days and even weeks. However, preventing jet lag is easy and can be done by following some tips that we will discuss below.
Maximise Your Exposure to Light
As we mentioned, jet lag occurs whenever your body’s circadian rhythms are in sync with your regular time zone but not your current environment. That’s why we all have experienced insomnia after a plane that can last for several nights and allow you to fall asleep only in the morning or after breakfast, making you miss most of the day. This is why light exposure can be an excellent way to help your brain get in sync with your air miles. However, you have to make sure you get the light at the right time of the day.
In case you move east, where you are a few hours ahead of your regular time zone, you will need to get sunlight in the morning hours. However, when you move west, it is best to get sunshine in the late afternoon/early evening which will help you normalise your rhythm and fall asleep quicker.
Get a Quality Sleep the Night Before the Plane
You don’t need to spend the night before the plane packing your suitcase or watching TV. We also do not recommend you to book a flight that will be during the night, which will allow you to sleep for only a few hours. This is because avoiding jet lag involves having a quality night’s sleep the night before the plane, which should be at least 8 hours.
In addition, stress affects how severe the symptoms of jet lag will be. This is why it is always best to pack your bags a few days before the plane, which will allow you to feel relaxed and prepared with no rush or stress.
Don’t Drink During the Flight
Drinking during the flight helps some people to have an enjoyable flight and fall asleep. However, even a glass of wine during the flight can lead to severe jet lag symptoms. Alcohol, in general, is an awful idea during the flight if you want to avoid jet lag. This is because the high altitude provides not-so-fun effects on the body, including dehydration, dizziness and nausea. Instead, we recommend drinking water since it will hydrate your body and help you avoid a headache to contend with.
Take Spirulina Drink
Spirulina is known as a popular superfood that has been shown to positively affect both the mind and body. Since it is rich in a vast range of nutrients and vitamins, it is considered one of the best caffeine alternatives that help you feel refreshed and energised right after a flight and go through the rest of the day with no sleepy feeling. For example, this Sparking Spirulina Drink by Fulcompany offers consumers an easy and delicious way to prevent jet lag and feel energised and recharged.
Don’t Nap Upon Arrival
Even though we all know how hard it is not to fall asleep after many hours of flight, you should definitely win this battle. Try not to take a nap, even for 10-20 minutes, as waking up will become a tricky challenge for you, and the rest of the day will be ruined. Experts recommend you stay awake until at least 10 pm local time to allow your inner circadian rhythms to stabilise. In addition, napping makes it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep that night. Try to refresh after the plane if you want to fall asleep at night and when it is time, enjoy a peaceful night.
Jet lag is a common feeling. Even though it often occurs in many people who have to fight it for days, there are still quick tips that help avoid jet lag and normalise your day upon arrival.