The term jet lag refers to the time “lag” that occurs when you fly, in which your body has not adjusted to the time difference between your point of departure and your destination. It is a disturbance of the sleep-wake rhythm that occurs when you travel long-distance over multiple time zones. Typical symptoms of jet lag are fatigue, insomnia, lack of concentration or mood swings...not exactly what you want on vacation. So here are some tips on how to combat jet lag and start your vacation off right!
Tips For Fighting Jet Lag
1. Caffeine (and lots of it)
Simple but effective. For best results, have one quarter cup of strong coffee per hour (drinking coffee quickly may give you a big boost of energy, but when the effects wear off it can cause huge mood swings). You may get better results if you refrain from drinking caffeine the day before your trip, and only resume drinking caffeine upon arrival.
2. Keep an eye on the time
Adjust the time on your mobile phone before you depart for your trip. Jet lag is sometimes just a mental battle.
3. Change your mealtimes
Researchers have found that fasting during a flight can reduce jet lag. If that isn’t a viable option for you, you should try to adapt your mealtimes to your new time zone, as this will ease the transition into your new daily routine.
4. Sunlight and fresh air
If you are struggling to stay awake throughout the day, it’s best to spend a good part of the day outside. Fresh air will keep you awake and the sun will inhibit production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Melatonin supplements can help reduce jet lag by making you tired enough to fall asleep before your body is naturally ready to do so. A word of warning: Do not take melatonin or other sleeping pills during the flight, as this can lead to incapacitation during an emergency situation.
Those who are unable to get through the day without rest should limit themselves to a 30 minute nap. This can improve concentration and prevent microsleep.