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Home/Blog/How to Help Get Over Jet Lag: 10 Tips

How to Help Get Over Jet Lag: 10 Tips

By Joe Boland

May 16, 2024

Jet lag remedies

Jet lag is the unwelcome companion of long-distance travel, disrupting the body's internal clock and leaving you feeling groggy and disoriented. It disrupts sleep, zaps energy and can leave you feeling foggy for days.

Whether you're a frequent flyer or embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime journey, understanding jet lag and how to help combat it can significantly enhance your travel experience.

The good news is there are jet lag tips that can help prevent or manage the adjustment to a different time zone.

Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen.

What Is Jet Lag?

Jet lag, also known as desynchronosis, is a temporary and normal sleep issue that occurs when your internal body clock, or circadian rhythm, becomes out of sync with the time zone of your destination.

This can lead to fatigue and disrupt sleep.

When your body's internal clock struggles to adjust to the sudden change in daylight hours, it can lead to a variety of temporary unpleasant occurrences, including:

  • Difficulty sleeping or waking at the desired times

  • Fatigue and daytime sleepiness

  • Disrupted digestion and appetite

  • Irritability and difficulty concentrating

How Long Does Jet Lag Last?

While jet lag typically lasts for several days, its duration can vary depending on factors such as the number of time zones crossed and individual susceptibility.

Generally, expect one day of adjustment for every time zone crossed eastward and two days for westward travel. However, individual experiences can vary.

How Is Jet Lag Different From Travel Fatigue?

Jet lag and travel fatigue are often used interchangeably, but they refer to distinct phenomena.

Jet lag specifically pertains to the temporary disruption of your circadian rhythm due to rapid travel across time zones.

Travel fatigue, on the other hand, encompasses the broader spectrum of temporary physical and mental exhaustion experienced during travel, which can result from factors such as cramped seating, dehydration, long flights and stress.

While both jet lag and travel fatigue can leave you feeling drained, jet lag specifically disrupts your sleep cycle due to time zone changes.

Signs of Jet Lag

Identifying the signs of jet lag is crucial for effectively managing its impact on your travel experience. Be on the lookout for these temporary and typical telltale signs of jet lag:

  • Difficulty sleeping, including disrupted sleep patterns or difficulty falling asleep at night

  • Fatigue and lethargy

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

  • Disrupted appetite or digestion

  • Headaches or dizziness

  • Difficulty concentrating or feeling foggy

  • Irritability and occasional mood swings

  • Gastrointestinal disturbances

Recognizing these signs early on can help you take proactive measures to help alleviate jet lag's effects and enjoy your trip to the fullest.

Causes

The culprit behind jet lag is your circadian rhythm. This internal clock regulates your sleep-wake cycle based on light exposure.

When you travel across time zones, your body's natural light cues become misaligned with the new environment, leading to sleep disturbances and other signs.

Contributing factors include:

  • Dehydration: Air travel can slightly dehydrate the body, exacerbating jet lag.

  • Cabin pressure and air quality: The confined environment of an airplane can impact sleep quality and exacerbate fatigue.

  • Stress: Pre-travel stress can worsen jet lag and hinder adaptation to new time zones.

Other things that can play a role in jet lag include older age, arrival time, how well you sleep before you travel, use of alcohol and caffeine, and more.

Understanding the underlying causes of jet lag empowers travelers to take proactive steps to help mitigate its effects and enjoy a smoother transition to their destination.

Jet Lag Tips

While jet lag may be an inevitable part of long-distance travel for some, there are numerous strategies you can employ to help minimize its impact and expedite recovery.

Here are some tried-and-tested tips:

1. Adjust to the new time zone ASAP

Upon arrival, try to synchronize with the local time. Get some sunlight exposure during the day, and avoid bright lights in the evening.

2. Adjust your sleep schedule

Gradually shift your sleep-wake cycle in the days leading up to your trip to align with your destination's time zone.

Don't force yourself into a completely new sleep schedule right away. Make small adjustments each day to nudge your sleep and wake times closer to the local time zone.

3. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight to counteract the dehydrating effects of air travel. Consuming hydrating foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can help as well.

4. Get sunlight exposure

Spend time outdoors, and expose yourself to natural sunlight upon arrival to help reset your internal clock.

Exposure to bright light at the right times can help get your circadian rhythm in order. Aim for sunlight in the morning at your destination, and avoid bright light exposure in the evening.

5. Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeine, as they can disrupt sleep patterns and exacerbate jet lag.

6. Consider melatonin supplements

Consult with a healthcare professional about using melatonin supplements to help regulate sleep and aid in adjusting to a new time zone.

You can try other sleep-supporting supplements as well, such as Ancient Nutrition’s Stress and Sleep Support, Multi Collagen Protein Beauty + Sleep Support or Organic Ashwagandha.

7. Maintain a regular sleep schedule

Once you're close to the local time zone, stick to a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends.

8. Exercise regularly

Physical activity can improve sleep quality, but avoid strenuous exercise close to bedtime.

9. Utilize relaxation techniques

Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing to combat jet lag and improve sleep quality.

10. Take travel supplements

To prevent jet lag, it helps to keep your body in tip-top shape when you travel. That’s why taking the following travel supplements may be a good idea:

Conclusion

By incorporating these tips into your travel routine, you can help minimize the impact of jet lag and make the most of your adventures abroad.

If jet lag persists for more than a few weeks, consult your healthcare professional.

Jet lag may pose a temporary challenge to travelers, but with the right knowledge and preparation, it can be effectively managed.

By understanding the causes of jet lag, recognizing its signs and implementing certain steps, you can help minimize its impact and enjoy a smoother transition to your destination.

So, next time you embark on a journey across time zones, arm yourself with these strategies and you may bid farewell to jet lag woes. Safe travels!

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