There are many tips floating around online on how to beat jet lag. Though what are some of the triggers of jet lag? If you know what causes jet lag symptoms it is easier to overcome them.
The greatest cause of jet lag is an abrupt change in the biological schedule. The body trains itself when to produce melatonin by exposure to light and darkness. When this changes the body is confused and causes uncomfortable symptoms such as irritability, and fatigue. The severity of jet lag increases with each time zone crossed. Other factors of severity include age and gender. Woman have greater jet lag than men. Also the older a person becomes the harder it is to fight the effects of jet lag.
The direction you travel may also have an effect on the severity of jet lag. Traveling East is harder than traveling West. There have been studies on why this happens. Some experts have explained that traveling East is harder because you need to do things earlier than your body is used to. For example waking up, eating etc. While traveling West is easier because you can delay waking up and eating which our body can adjust to faster.
If you went to London from New York the flight would be around seven hours, and is five time zones away to the East so the jet lag can be severe.
While a flight for a vacation to Rio de Janeiro Brazil would be about ten hours, you only travel one time zone and your body quickly becomes accustomed to waking up and going to bed one hour later. This means the jet lag will be less severe.
If you want to avoid jet lag severity take adventures going West or North and South to avoid the time zone jumps that can make your biological clock angry and want revenge on your body.
Now that we have explored what causes or increases jet lag here are some tips to BEAT it!
Change your bedtime- A week before your time zone traveling adventure change the time you go to sleep. Change bedtime to one to two hours later for West travel and one to two hours earlier for East travel.
Avoid big meals on plane but Stay Hydrated- While on the plane to your destination avoid eating too much have light snacks. Once you arrive, eat on the new time zone schedule. While on the plane and through out your trip drink plenty of water. Staying well hydrated can help you avoid feeling fatigued.
Match exposure to light to the new time zone- Your biological clock depends on signals from light and darkness to produce the correct amount of melatonin to help you sleep and create a schedule. If traveling to the West spend time outside during the late afternoon. If traveling East enjoy time outside during the early morning.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine- Avoid these substances while traveling to different time zones. Alcohol is a suppressant and can cause you to be drowsy and caffeine is a stimulant which can cause your mind to race. Both of these can cause the severity of jet lag to increase.
Talk to your doctor- If you have suffered from severe jet lag in the past speak with your doctor before your new adventure. If your doctor suggests melatonin supplements remember to take them correctly.
Also check out World Wide Labs for the Jet Lag Kit.
Article Source Consumer Reports