Avoiding Jet Lag after a Long Flight

One of the most aggravating things about travelling is arriving red-eyed and groggy at your destination. It becomes quite difficult to think clearly when you are jet lagged. When you’re jetlagged, you end up making bad decisions at business meetings, whereas it stops recreational travelers from enjoying their time-limited and hard-earned vacation.

Keep reading to find out how jet lag affects you and what you can do to avoid it:

Symptoms of Jet Lag

  • General tiredness
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to fall asleep at night
  • Malaise
  • Headaches
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of concentration

So, what causes jet lag? When your biological rhythms are disrupted due to rapid transitions from one time-zone to another, your internal clock finds it difficult to distinguish day from night. Such de-synchronization affects the circadian rhythm of morning employees who get transferred to night shifts.

Combating Jet Lag

Before you book a holiday, check out this short guide with tips on how to avoid jet lag:

Planning

One of the best ways to avoid jet lag is pre-flight preparation.

  • Before you set out for the airport, make sure that all your professional and personal affairs are in order
  • Try to avoid staying late at farewell parties to avoid a hangover
  • Try to avoid contact with people who have a cold or flu
  • Start exercising a week prior to your departure
  • Sleep full 8 hours on the day of your flight

According to a several studies, travelers who are eastbound feel less jet lagged compared to those who are westbound. Physicians argue that since on an eastbound flight, your circadian rhythm is running behind time and you are surrounded by sound and light cues, it is easier for a body to stay awake. On the other hand, on a westbound flight, your circadian rhythm is running ahead and, therefore, your body is not able to cope up with the stress.

Daytime cheap flights are less stressful whereas, the overnight flights, also known as “red-eye” flights have cramped seating and too much noise, which prevent you from having a restful sleep.

Food

  • Avoid non-alcoholic fluids (alcohol has a greater intoxicating effect at higher altitudes such as in an airplane than the ground level)
  • Drink plenty of water as the dry air circulation in airplanes can cause dehydration
  • You may have one cup of coffee or tea, or a glass of fruit juice

Comfort

  • To get quality sleep on your flight, keep a sleep mask, an inflatable pillow, a neck rest, and ear plugs with you
  • If the seat beside you is empty, pull up the arm rest and lay across it. Lying flat allows you to fall asleep better than sitting on a seat

Stretch Your Legs

  • If your flight is more than 8 hours long, then stretch your legs by getting up and walking down the aisle
  • Exercise in your seat by stretching and twisting your body. This will help minimize discomfort from swollen feet and legs, and prevent deep vein thrombosis
  • If your flight has stopovers, depending on the time-zone, have breakfast or a snack at the airport

According to a Lance Report, which recorded figures dating back to 1988 — in 3 years at the Heathrow Airport, around 18% of deaths (61 in total) in passengers travelling long distance were caused by pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs).

Sleep-Inducing Products

There are certain products that claim to cure jet lag. Amongst these is “melatonin”, which is a hormone that’s produced by the body for sleep. No-Jet-Lag is another product that has proven to be quite effective after it was used in a scientific trial having passengers from all around the world. Its effectiveness was also supported by flight attendants who took part in the trial after their union’s cooperation. Since No-Jet-Lag is a homeopathic remedy, it was used in extremely low dosages. It was found that the product was compatible with other prescription pills and had no side effects.

Tips for Taking Melatonin

  • On the day of your flight, take melatonin at 6 P.M. (your city’s local time)
  • When you arrive at your destination, take melatonin consistently for 4 days, right before bedtime at 9 P.M. (your current location’s local time)
  • If you have a stopover, which is going to last a day, then take melatonin 7 P.M. (your current location’s local time) before you fly out again
  • When you arrive at your last destination, take melatonin before bedtime (your current location’s local time) and then consistently for the next 4 days

When you are travelling westward, melatonin will not work if you are travelling less than 5 time zones. When you arrive at your destination, take melatonin before bedtime (your current location’s local time) and then consistently for the next 4 days. If you find yourself awake before 4 A. M. then take half a dose more melatonin.

It is not advised to take sleeping pills when you are travelling by plane. The pills make you fall in a drugged state that makes having a natural sleep harder. They suppress your natural body movement and, in a cramped environment, increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis. As for over-the-counter pills, most of them are anti-histamines that tend to dehydrate your mucous membranes, which create a sore and parched throat in combination with the dry air in the airplane.

Hopefully, with these tips, you will land at your destination wide awake and energetic.

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