One of the worst parts of air travel is handling jet lag. Jet lag is basically your body’s inability to adjust to the destination’s time as it passes through multiple time zones. For the inexperienced traveler (and some experienced ones) it can put a cramp in your business or holiday plans especially if your trip is only a few days.
The main symptoms of jet lag are fatigue and tiredness. This can be accompanied by headaches, dizziness, muscle soreness, a feeling of sickness and odd eating patterns. Being tired while on your holiday, especially if you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing or physical activity can make if difficult to have an enjoyable time.
To prevent jet lag you have to start before your trip. Ensure you are relaxed and stress free before you leave for the airport. Don’t drink caffeinated drinks and while alcohol may relax you it also dehydrates which can contribute to jet lag. Also consider doing some light exercise such as yoga or running but nothing that will make your muscles sore. Exercising aids your body’s sleep patterns.
Once on your flight, try to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Consider accessories that will help you such as neck pillows and eye masks. Take off your shoes and get pillows and blankets before the plane takes off. Since dehydration contributes to jet lag, bring a large bottle of water. Drink lots of water even if you don’t feel thirsty.
After take off, set your watch to the destination time. The rule of thumb is to sleep if it’s bed time at your destination and stay awake (or just take a small nap) if not. If you need to sleep consider taking a light sleep aid and if you’re worried about missing the meal service then just let the cabin crew know to wake you. Again, avoid consuming alcohol. It may help you sleep but in the long run it will make jet lag worse. If you feel like a drink then just have one and drink extra water to keep hydrated. If you’re awake, get out of your seat and do some simple stretches to reduce muscle tension.
Some travelers swear by Melatonin pills to prevent jet lag. Tests show that your body’s clock is influenced by the hormone Melatonin. It is secreted when your body is exposed to a lack of light so when it’s dark it’s like a natural sleeping pill. You can force this hormone by taking Melatonin pills which can be purchased over the counter at most drug stores.
Once you arrive at your destination adjust to the time as soon as possible. If you are tired in the middle of the day don’t crash but take a small nap and then get to bed early. Sleeping during the middle of the day and staying awake at night will only prolong jet lag.
If you use these preventative tips you will arrive at your destination rested with minimal jet lag and ready to enjoy your trip.
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