Jet lag – a term that most travelers know all too well. The inevitable side effects of long-haul flights can significantly dampen the joy of traveling.
But with the right preparation and some proven strategies, you can overcome jet lag and adapt to new time zones faster. In this in-depth blog post, we will share valuable tips and tricks to help you enjoy your next flight without the stresses of jet lag.
What is jet lag?
Jet lag is a condition that occurs when your body and internal clock don’t match the time zone you’ve traveled to. For example, if you travel from one time zone to the next, your body may still be used to the “old” time, while at the destination it is already a different time.
This conflict between your internal rhythm and local time can cause various symptoms, including:
- Fatigue: You often feel tired and lacking energy because your body longs for the “old” time.
- Insomnia: You may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because your sleep-wake cycle is out of whack.
- Irritability: Jet lag can affect your mood and make you more irritable or impatient.
- Digestive problems: Your digestive system can get out of sync, which can lead to stomach problems or indigestion.
Jetlag can affect the first few days after your arrival in a new time zone as your body adjusts to the local time. However, there are several strategies and tips to minimize the effects of jet lag and make it easier to adapt, as previously described.
Preparation begins at home
Book a suitable flight time
If you are prone to jet lag, it also makes sense to choose a suitable flight that does not promote your jet lag.
- If possible, opt for flights that arrive at your destination time during the day so that you can adapt more easily.
- Consider stopovers to gradually adjust your body to the new time zone. For very long flights, stopovers are often a good option.
- If you have the opportunity, choose a seat by the window to better control the amount of sunlight during the flight. This can help you adjust your sleep-wake cycle.
Before the flight
- Adjust your bedtimes to match your destination’s time zone a few days before your trip . This can help slowly shift your internal clock and make it easier to adjust.
- Try to arrive rested and well slept on the day of your departure. Get enough sleep beforehand to make up for the lack of sleep during the flight.
During the flight
- Drink plenty of water to ensure hydration. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages should be avoided as they promote dehydration.
- Get up regularly, walk around and do some stretching exercises to stimulate blood circulation and loosen muscles.
- Try to sleep during the flight if this fits your “normal” sleep time in the destination time zone. Use a sleep mask and earplugs to minimize disturbance.
- Go out into the daylight as soon as you arrive. Sunlight helps recalibrate your internal clock and regulate melatonin levels.
- Eat according to the local time zone and avoid heavy meals that could disrupt your digestion. Light meals with fresh vegetables and proteins are a good choice.
- Avoid longer naps and try to adapt to the local sleep-wake cycle as soon as possible. Keep yourself awake until local bedtime to speed up your adjustment.
- Develop a relaxing evening routine to prepare your body for sleep. This may include a warm bath, light reading, or soothing music.
Remedies for jet lag
- Medication: In some cases, a doctor may recommend prescription sleep aids or other medications to alleviate the symptoms of jet lag. However, these should only be used after consulting a professional, as they can have side effects and are not suitable for everyone.
- Movement and activity: Exercising in the fresh air and exercising lightly after arriving can help speed up adaptation to the new time zone. This may include walking, light gymnastics, or yoga.
- Nutrition: A balanced diet can also help you adapt to jet lag. Avoid heavy meals, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages, as they can interfere with sleep. Instead, you prefer easily digestible foods such as vegetables, lean protein, and fruits.
- Drink water: Drink enough water to keep the body hydrated. The air on airplanes is often dry, which can lead to dehydration, which can worsen jet lag symptoms.
- Melatonin supplements: Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Taking melatonin supplements can help adjust your internal clock to the new time zone. However, it is important to discuss the dosage and application with a doctor.
Home remedies for jet lag
- Herbal teas: Herbal teas such as chamomile tea or valerian root tea can have a calming effect and help you fall asleep. Drink these teas in the evenings to promote your relaxation before bed.
- Aromatherapy: Essential oils such as lavender oil can have a calming effect. You can put a few drops of lavender oil on a handkerchief and place it next to your pillow or use lavender essential oil in a diffuser to create a relaxing atmosphere.
- Acupressure: Applying pressure to specific acupressure points can help relieve jet lag symptoms. The point on the wrist, often referred to as the P6 point, is often used. You can use special acupressure bracelets or massage the point yourself.
- Relaxation exercises: Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, or meditation can help reduce stress and promote peaceful sleep.
It is important to note that the effectiveness of these home remedies can vary from person to person. What works for one person may not necessarily be as effective for another.