You have finally arrived at your destination. While you are excited to enjoy the change in setting, your body is not on the same page. It is jet lagged and plotting to be an inconvenience to your plans. Understanding how to combat jet lag is essential for a smooth travel experience and maintaining sleep hygiene.
What is Jet Lag?
Jet lag, formally known as desynchronosis, is a temporary sleep disorder that occurs when the body’s internal clock is out of sync with the new time zone. Symptoms can range from fatigue and insomnia to digestive issues and impaired cognitive function.
Reducing the Effects of Jet Lag
To mitigate these effects, here are some effective strategies to help you combat jet lag and regulate your sleep:
- Dehydration can worsen the symptoms of jet lag. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight to help your body combat fatigue.
- Create a comfortable sleep environment using eye masks, earplugs, and comfortable pillows to help you sleep better during your flight and in your accommodation once you’ve arrived.
- Light exposure is crucial in regulating your body’s internal clock. Upon arrival, spend time in natural daylight to help reset your circadian rhythm. Limit exposure to bright light during the evening to signal your body that it’s time to wind down.
- Engage in calming activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or gentle yoga to help relax your mind and body, promoting better sleep quality and reducing stress.
Can Adjusting Your Sleep Schedule Help?
Navigating through jet lag’s challenges involves understanding and adapting to your travel itinerary. By aligning your sleep patterns with the time zone of your destination, you can help your body adjust better when you land.
Let’s say you’re travelling from Chennai to New York. To minimise the shock your body will experience when landing at a vastly different timezone, you decide to regulate your bedtime a few days before your departure. If your regular bedtime is 10:00 PM, you begin by going to bed and waking up an hour later each day until you’re closer to New York time. By the time you land in New York, your internal clock will be better aligned with the local time, making it easier to transition.
Prioritising your sleep health ensures a more enjoyable journey. Jet lag doesn’t have to take away from your precious time at your destination!