Are you looking forward to your trip across the country, but not the fatigue and insomnia it causes? Jet lag, also called “flight fatigue,” is a temporary disorder known to cause travelers a number of physical and emotional symptoms including anxiety, constipation, diarrhea, confusion, dehydration, headache, irritability, nausea, sweating, coordination problems, dizziness, and even memory loss – to name a few, okay several.
Why does jet lag occur?
Jet lag is the result of our body’s inability to adjust to the time in a different time zone. As the body struggles with the new schedule, temporary symptoms like fatigue and insomnia, the most frequent symptoms of jet lag, set in. The brain becomes confused and disoriented as it attempts to juggle schedules.
What can you do to avoid jet lag?
Ideally, when we travel we want to arrive well rested and ready to see the sights. The following will help you do just that:
- Sync your internal clock. From a few days to a week before your trip, try to adapt to the local time of your destination. This means you’ll need to wake up or go to bed earlier or later. Also resist the temptation to take a nap once you arrive. Go to bed and rise at a normal time for your location.
- Stay hydrated. Flying leads to dehydration and dehydration amplifies jet lag symptoms. Avoid drinking coffee, soda, and alcohol while flying.
- Use the darkness (or light) to your advantage. Our bodies take their cue from light, or lack of it, when it’s time to sleep.
- Sleep. You may be tempted to stay up all night before a flight so you may sleep while flying/traveling. Don’t do this. If you’re tired, sick, or hung over, jet lag hits harder.
- Stretch. While seated during your flight, exercise your legs periodically. Every hour or two get up and walk around.