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Dealing with jet lag

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By Evelyn Masaba

Traveling is such a fun experience but it can be very hectic especially if you are a flyer moving from one time zone to another. The tiring effect on your body usually lead to jet lag.

Jet lag can be simply explained as a temporary sleep disorder that occurs when you move between time zones especially from east to west, or west to east on a plane. The more time zones you cross the more intense it will be. In some situations, it takes someone more than five days to recover from jet lag and it is believed to take longer for adults to recover than children.

The medical explanation for jet lag is that it occurs when the circadian rhythm or the biological clock that helps control bodily action when we wake up and sleep is interrupted by the unexpected change in environment and time. When one crosses into another time zone, the rhythm is disrupted and a lag occurs because your body needs to instantly adjust to the new time zone you are in.

So how does one deal with jet lag in a way that will keep you comfortable in your new environment?

Move around
When on your flight, try to move around or do any simple exercise such as stretching whenever you get the space to do so. It is advisable to avoid heavy exercises like a long gym or cardio routine when you arrive at your destination because they might delay sleep.
Change sleep schedule
If you are intending to travel to a location that is hours ahead, make sure your sleep schedule is always an hour ahead of your current zone. This helps your body get used to the new zone days before your journey and you will arrive to the destination without disruptions. When moving to a location behind your timezone, do the opposite.
Always make sure you drink a lot of water before you embark on your trip and after the flight. Staying hydrated helps keep your body in sync and it is very advisable to avoid alcoholic drinks or caffeine, which disrupt sleep and sometimes lead to dehydration.
Time zone changes 
Some frequent travellers swear by “adopting to your new time zone…” When you change your clock to that of your destination, it is easy to trick your mind into getting acclimatized to the new time zone when you are not there yet. Don’t stop yourself from sleeping on the flight when it is dark and staying awake when it is daylight, try and rest.
Eat well
Keep away from foods high in fats or carbohydrates; fatty foods might highly disrupt your sleep. Basically, eat sensibly days before your flight and on the flight to help stay within your schedule.
Prior planning
Try arriving days earlier than planned to your destination especially if you want to be fresh for an appearance or any big event. Your body and mind will easily adapt to the new location after days of the new routine after you have arrived.

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