We’ve all been there. After 6 hours on a plane, you arrive at a conference or event with a million things to do – and all you want to do is SLEEP.
Traveling across times zones often causes these irritating and inconvenient symptoms of fatigue or insomnia we call jet lag. Jet lag is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, or a disruption of the internal body clock, that can affect young and old – and wreaking havoc on your agenda.
While there is no real cure for jet lag, there are things you can do before, during and after your flight to help to help prevent or alleviate some of the symptoms.
Before your flight
If your travel destination is located in a different time zone, begin to adjust your schedule to reflect the new time a few days before your trip… for instance, if you are heading west, start going to bed a little earlier each night. If you are headed east, try to stay awake a little longer. Because circadian rhythm is a response to both natural light, wearing sunglasses can help adjust your circadian rhythm by controlling your exposure to both natural and artificial light. Most importantly, try to reduce the stress involved with your trip by taking advantage of conveniences like online check in or the other services offered by ATG to make your arrangements easier.
During your flight
As you make your way to your destination, start to adjust to the new time zone by eating meals according to the local time of your destination. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and make yourself comfortable to encourage restful sleep inflight. Be sure to avoid alcohol and other sleep aids – while they may have an immediate effect, in the long run, they can have a negative impact as your body adjusts to new sleep patterns.
When you arrive
Get as much natural light as you can to help your body adjust to the new time zone. If you have headed west, get out in the morning sun and avoid the afternoon sun to shift your rhythm. If you have traveled east, the opposite rings true – the afternoon sun will only help your body stay “awake” longer. Whatever you do, be sure to get a minimum of four hours of sleep each night. If you are only traveling a short time, keep your normal “home” hours for eating and sleeping, if practical.
How do you avoid suffering from jet lag on long trips?