Lois has over ten years' experience in the home/herbal remedy field. She seeks to inform her readers and help them to save money.
Jet lag is a condition that affects people who fly through different time zones. Whether you are flying for business or fun, it can make your flying experience and stay less enjoyable if you allow it to take over your life. Even though the symptoms of jet lag are temporary (it takes about a day to recover for every time zone you fly through), wouldn't you rather enjoy each day to the fullest? The good news is there are several home remedies that can help your body get adjusted to the new time zone.
What Is Jet Lag?
The first thing you need to do, especially if you are a first-time flyer, is to understand what jet lag is. It is medically known as desynchronosis, and it normally occurs when you get on a plane and travel to another place that is in a different time zone (mostly when you are flying from east to west). Your body is basically thrown out of whack because it will still think it is a certain time of day.
For example, you fly out of New York and land in California. The time difference between the Eastern and Pacific Time zones is three hours, with the west being three hours earlier. Even though your mind knows you're in California, your body thinks that it is still in New York. Your body eventually will tell you when it is time to sleep, since it has a natural sleep routine, but you still have three hours to go before you hit the mattress. The same goes for eating. If your body cannot adjust to the new times for eating and sleeping, it becomes jet lagged.
Symptoms of Jet Lag
- trouble sleeping
- daytime fatigue
- stomach issues
Adjust Your Sleep Patterns to Avoid Jet Lag
Adjust your sleeping pattern three days before your flight. For example, your flight may be leaving at 6:00 am. Most airports require you to be there two hours before the flight. So assuming you live a short distance away or are staying at a hotel nearby, you will need to be awake no later than 3:00am. The easiest way to do this is to follow this pattern:
Day 1: Wake up one hour earlier than the time you normally wake up.
Day 2: Wake up two hours earlier.
Day 3: Wake up three hours earlier.
By making yourself wake up at this time prior to the flight, you are helping your body to adjust. Now if you are flying west to east, you will have to do the opposite. You will have to go to bed and wake up later.
Now that you have the set time in which you are going to wake up, you need to help your body adjust to going to bed earlier so that it still gets the amount of sleep it needs. This will be difficult because your body is used to a specific time when you go to sleep.
Consider Taking Melatonin
Our body produces melatonin which tells your body when it is time to sleep and when it is time to wake up. During the three nights before you travel, before you go to bed, take a 0.5-milligram tablet of a melatonin supplement. This will make it easier to fall asleep.
Does Stress Make Jet-Lag Worse?
It is very advisable not to become stressed out before your flight. Getting over-whelmed before you leave on your flight can lead to jet lag. You might be worried that you are packing too little or too much. You may be stressed that you are going to forget something.
The best thing to do is to make a list of all the important things that you need to take with you such as medications, your wallet, boarding passes, and passport. Then you need to know what clothing you are going to need.
If you are worried that your suitcase is going to be too heavy, you can purchase a digital luggage scale. Find out from the airline or your travel agent what the maximum weight is. You should also find out if you are allowed a carry-on. Some airlines only allow these for First Class fliers.
If you are going for an extended time, you can find out from the place where you are staying if there are washers and driers that you can use. If they do have them, you will not have to pack clothes for every day since you can wash and wear them again.
It is also a good idea not to pack your bags at the last minute. It is best to start packing a week before. Then have the bags and all other necessary items in an area where you can simply grab them when it is time for you to catch your flight.
Do not rush trying to get to the airport. It actually is advisable to arrive there at least two hours before the flight. If you have to sit and wait, sit down and relax with a good book. If you are calm throughout this ordeal, you may not fall victim to jet lag.
Strategies for Alleviating Jet Lag
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Keeping your body hydrated helps reduce the symptoms of jet lag. During the flight, make sure that you are drinking plenty of water. You can purchase bottles at any of the airport stores-once you have passed through security. Therefore, you can take these on the plane.
But avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages since these can also dehydrate you-plus your wallet will thank you since mixed drinks can be quite expensive. Keep plenty of snacks in your carry-on or pocketbook. If you have a layover, avoid fast food restaurants and look for ones that offer healthier food choices.
Try to stay awake during the flight.
This will ensure that you can fall asleep at a decent hour in the new time zone. Wouldn’t you rather want to look at the scenery outside your window? However, if you feel the need to take a nap, close your eyes for 10–15 minutes. Even a short snooze will help you feel invigorated.
Try to adjust to the new time zone right away.
After you have arrived at your designation and checked in your hotel room, do not flop down on your bed. Take a shower to reinvigorate you. Walk throughout the hotel and look for things that interest you. You may find that simply by being busy that soon it will be time to eat and your body will be adjusted enough to go to sleep at the proper time in the new time zone.
Do not let jet lag ruin your vacation that you have been dreaming of for a lifetime. By helping your body to get adjusted to the new time zone, the chances that you will experience severe symptoms of jet lag are slim.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Lois Ryan
Scott DeNicola on June 04, 2019:
The thing I always do to avoid Jet Lag is to adjust to the time zone right away. If I am flying across the country to California from NY I try to power through and stay up as long as I can to acclimate. I naturally drink a ton of water so that definitely helps. The flight back is the worst.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 26, 2019:
Thanks for the helpful suggestion on how to deal with jet lag.Sure, travelers will find them useful.
Lois Ryan (author) from Binghamton NY on April 26, 2019:
I had that problem when I flew from NY to Reno. I thought I had a Kindle book downloaded. So I had to keep occupied other ways.
Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on April 25, 2019:
I flew to Mexico roundtrip in January. It sucks you have to be in airplane mode on your phone. I was so bored, lol. Good tips.