Causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention
When you travel, whether for business or pleasure, the trip can all too often be dampened by jet lag for the first few days. It can leave you feeling run down and lacking energy, and might make you unable to make the most out of your time away. We want to share our tips for how to combat jet lag before, during and after your flight, so that you can concentrate on enjoying your trip.
What is jet lag and what causes it?
Jet lag is a temporary condition that occurs when your sleep pattern is disrupted, usually by flying across multiple time zones.
Our bodies have an internal clock called the circadian rhythm, which tells us when to go to sleep based on the hours of light and darkness where we live. When you go on holiday somewhere far away, your body is not used to the new routine and can struggle to function at its best.
It usually takes around a day to recover for each time zone crossed, and is usually worse when travelling West to East, when you ‘lose’ hours. The good news is that jet lag is only temporary, and the symptoms can be lessened by taking precautions.
Jet lag symptoms
The main symptom of jet lag is fatigue due to your sleep schedule being changed. This can lead to a loss in concentration, a dip in mood and mild insomnia.
Another symptom of jet lag is gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, indigestion and diarrhoea, as your body won’t be used to your new meal times.
How to avoid jet lag
Unfortunately, at the moment jet lag can’t be prevented completely, but you can make it easier to handle by doing the following.
Before your flight
✅ Get plenty of rest in the days before.
✅ Try to gradually alter your waking hours to match those of your destination. For example, if you’re flying to somewhere five hours behind, go to bed a bit earlier each night and wake up a bit earlier each morning.
✅ If it’s a really long flight, consider splitting the trip up when booking, Could you spend a couple of nights somewhere halfway to your destination?
❌ Try to limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume, and avoid eating huge meals and spending a lot of time looking at screens.
During your flight
✅ Drink plenty of water – we recommend a litre every few hours.
✅ Try to get some sleep if it’s night time where you’re headed.
✅ Make sure to stretch and move around at regular intervals.
❓ Some people like taking melatonin supplements to help regulate their circadian rhythms, but there’s not sufficient scientific evidence to say they work. Ask your doctor before taking them.
❌ However tempting, try to avoid overindulging on the in-flight beverages – a hangover will only make jet lag worse.
At your destination
✅ Adjust to the new time zone as soon as possible.
✅ Set your alarm to avoid oversleeping in the morning.
✅ Take a hot bath before you go to bed to relax your body and mind and encourage sleepiness.
❌ Don’t sleep during the day – go for a walk instead. The natural light will help your body to adapt more quickly.
For those who need a little extra help with their symptoms take a look at our Jet Lag Reset IV drip.