How to Avoid and Cope with Jet Lag

What is a jet lag?

Jet lag is a common medical illness that is known by other names such as time zone change syndrome or desynchronsis. Jet lag is a physiological condition that affects people when they travel rapidly from east to west or in opposite direction on a jet plane. The disturbance occurs in our body’s circadian rhythms and hence it is also called circadian rhythm disorder. It is proposed that the symptoms of jet lag are more prominent while travelling from west to east.

Jet lag sleep

Prevention is better than cure

 It is certain that you cannot avoid jet lag, but there are ways to minimize its effects through preventive measures:

Physical fitness and health:

Physical fitness is obtained through the intake of a well-balanced and nutritious diet. A physically fit person who takes proper rest tends to suffer from lighter jet lag symptoms.



Prevailing medical illness:

It is highly dangerous to travel on a jet plane if you are suffering from any kind of medical illness. Patients with lung disease, heart disease or diabetes are recommended to get proper treatment before travelling. Travel only if your medical condition is in control.

Dehydration:

Water keeps your body nourished and maintains the level of salts in the body. Before boarding the plane, make sure you have plenty of drink. Drinks do not include alcohol or caffeine. Their intake will make the condition worse.

Many travelers do not promote sleep aids during the flight. But if the symptoms are severe then medicines act as sleep aid that provide a nap time of almost seven hours. Manage your time properly to sleep for the most part of the journey and wake up at rise time of your destination.

Exercises to reduce jet lag symptoms:

A workout, during and after the flight can actually help to reduce symptoms of jet lag. They help to resynchronize your body with time. Here are some workouts:

In Flight Exercises:

It is difficult to move your body in compact space. But a little exercise can keep your blood flowing. You can walk around to feel less cramped. A leg exercise is a handy option. Do leg extensions or inner thigh squeezes. Try isometric exercises such as neck stretch, hip stretch, triceps dips, shoulder rolls etc.

After Flight Exercises:

The jet lag mostly strikes after 2-3 days. Prior to that, you can go for an evening walk and do some basic body weight exercises. A morning and evening yoga is considered to be the best remedy. Avoid doing high intensity cardio as your body is already exhausted. Perform basic stretches in your hotel room to keep your muscles flexible. Seated stretches such as arm rolls, fingers stretch, neck stretch, glute squeezes and ab twists are also helpful.

What to do if jet lag occurs?

The more chances are that you will suffer from jet lag if you are boarding a flight from west to east. It will disrupt your journey and harm your mental wellness. The following tips may help when jet lag strikes you:

Change your routine:

As soon as you reach your destination, make sure that you adjust your body and routine according to the local time-table. Your body has a mechanism to cope with the changes in the environment and perform accordingly.  Behaving as a local resident will speed up the body clock’s adaption to the alien environment.

If symptoms are severe:

In case the symptoms from the jet lag are severe, you should hold up your journey immediately and find the nearest place to take a rest. Do not carry on with the flight until you are completely cured. Alternate way is to travel by ship slowly. Also wearing sunglasses may reduce the effects.

Stay active till local bedtime:

Jet lag hates daylight, fresh air and exercise. Try to stay charged on your arrival and take a good walk in the new locality. Get rid of the tiredness by meeting new people and trying out new food. Refuse your body’s fatigue and stand firm till your body transits to the local time.

Image credit:
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2008/dec/02/drugs-airlines-jet-lag

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