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How To Beat Jet Lag

Posted on 28 April 2011

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Jet lag refers to symptoms of fatigue and insomnia that are associated when you travel rapidly across many time zones. The symptoms result due to the failure of your internal body clock to adjust to you new time zone. You’ll find you’re awake during the night and sleepy during the day. You may also experience headaches, gastrointestinal discomfort as well as reduced mental ability. The effects tend to last from several days with eastward travel generally being worse than westward travel.

Unfortunately there’s no magic bullet solution to synchronizing your body clock immediately with a new day/night cycle. But there are a few practical steps you can take to reduce the severity of jet lag symptoms:

  • When booking your flight to try to time it with the daytime hours of your departure destination. As soon as you get on board try and adjust to your new time zone.  If you will be arriving early in the morning, try and sleep on the airplane. You’ll find having one of these inflatable neck pillows or a good quality memory foam travel pillow to be very useful in helping you fall asleep in an upright position. But if your flight arrives in the evening try to stay awake while on the plane.
  • Make sure you have a few nights of good quality rest before you embark on your travels. Being rested will help you adjust more quickly to the new time zone.
  • Bear in mind that one of the quickest ways to adjust your body clock to a new time zone is to expose yourself to as much daylight as possible at your arrival destination. And remember that artificial light will not have the same effect as natural light.
  • Stay well dehydrated during the flight.
  • Some travelers find that using melatonin helps improve the quality of their sleep. Melatonin is secreted naturally in our body with the peak release time coinciding with deep sleep.

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