Love to travel, or have to travel for work but hate the way it makes you feel and the time it takes to normalize?
If after traveling you’ve felt any of the following symptoms, you might be one of the estimated 94% of people that suffer from jet lag.
- loss of appetite
- reduced anaerobic fitness
- GI distress
- reduced concentration
- reduced aerobic fitness
- joint swelling and stiffness
- muscle pain and stiffness
- restless legs
Here are few quick ways to help reduce the symptoms and get back to you faster.
- Especially if traveling over multiple time zones, accept the fact that this will have an effect on your body and when available work with that. example. If you have a huge business meeting on a Monday morning, consider arriving a couple days prior to adjust. This is not always a reality for people especially with loved ones and children at home, or when extra finances come into play.
- Supplementation with Melatonin- Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. One of melatonin’s key jobs is controlling the body’s circadian rhythm.Melatonin release is tied to the amount of light you experience. Light suppresses its release. When it gets dark at night and we turn out the lights, melatonin release is stimulated.
Crossing time zones, we may suddenly find ourselves exposed to excessive light when ordinarily, it would be our bedtime. Even a three-hour time difference can be significant. When this happens, our melatonin cycles become disrupted and we experience jet lag until our circadian rhythms adjust to the new environment.
The timing of dosing with melatonin is very important. Wait until you land in the new time zone to supplement; this will significantly reduce jet lag symptoms, improve sleep quality, and increase alertness and recovery.
- Prep your body before hopping on that plane- try adjusting your wake and sleep cycle as close as possible to your destination’s time zone. This involves waking up and going to bed one hour progressively earlier or later (depending on which way you’re traveling) each day for three days.If you’re traveling east, wake up an hour earlier each day for three days. If you’re traveling west, do the reverse. You can visit JetLagRooster to help you determine your schedule.
- Nutrition and exercise- Eating a moderate/healthy meal (low fats, sugars, and salt) the morning of your flight, and once your flight has landing trying to immediately start following the local meal times, with plenty of water during the flight will help to reduce the length of time you have symptoms.
- If arriving during daylight, go for a walk. Regardless of how exhausted, you may feel, Light is the most powerful regulator of our internal biological clocks so we can use light cues to help minimize jet lag. Bright light tells the body it’s time to be awake, especially when combined with movement.
- While in flight- avoid caffeine that has been shown to have a direct effect on circadian rhythm, get up and move, stay hydrated and eat minimal if anything at all. Also, Try catching some ZZZ’s- Blindfolds, ear plugs, neck rests and blow-up pillows are all useful in helping you get quality sleep while flying. Kick your shoes off to ease pressure on the feet.
How long can Jet Leg last?
Just like most questions pertaining to the amazing human body, the result may vary however, scientists estimate that it’ll take you one full day to recover for every hour of time difference.
Interestingly, the direction you travel can affect the severity of your jet lag symptoms. Traveling east is more difficult on the body than traveling west. It seems to be easier for our bodies to delay our internal clocks than to speed them up.
The science of it all:
What exactly happened to our bodies to make “Jet Lag”?
Jet lag originates in the nerve cells of the hypothalamus, this is the part of our brain that regulates temperature, sleep, circadian rhythms, appetite, and hunger.
This part of the brain has been around long before air travel and it responds slowly to changes in external time and light levels. This conflict between “inner time” and “outer time” is jet lag.
We are very lucky to have such an amazing option for traveling and gives us the opportunity to explore this beautiful planet we have. I hope at least one of these things help to make traveling that much more enjoyable.
live longer, healthier and happier,