Jet lag occurs when our bodies have to quickly adjust to a new day and night schedule, throwing our rhythm out of balance and leads to feelings of exhaustion, restlessness, nausea and dizziness.
It’s not pleasant, and can put a dampener on the start of your holiday, so what can you do to try and lessen your symptoms?
Unfortunately, there is no outright cure for jet lag. However there are several things you can do to ease the problem and stop a change in time zone from ruining your break.
When on a long haul flight, try to sleep as much as you can. However, many of us find it difficult to sleep effectively on uncomfortable plane seats.
So if you find yourself awake, the best thing to do is get up and move around as regularly as possible. Moving around the plane or even just doing a few simple stretches every now and then can help keep you mentally and physically active and prevent blood clots by keeping your blood pumping.
It will also help you sleep better later on, as you’ll feel less restless.
Natural Light to adjust to your new destination
Natural light plays a big part in your circadian rhythm. Studies have shown that having a shower in natural light is one of the most effective ways of combating jet lag as it encourages the release of serotonin — the hormone which provides us with energy.
Once you arrive at your destination, take a short walk and indulge in a little sunlight before attempting to sleep. This will help your body get used to its new schedule.
The effect of Jet Lag Can Depend On The Direction You Fly The intensity of your jet lag often changes depending in which direction you fly. Travelling eastward can make jet lag worse, because travelling in this direction causes you to lose hours in your day, making it harder for your body to catch up with itself.
It’s much more difficult to adjust to losing hours than gaining them, so if you’re travelling east this summer take extra care with your sleep health.
Dehydration leads to many of the same symptoms as jet lag, such as fatigue, nausea, headaches and dizziness. This means that being both dehydrated and jet lagged can make your condition even worse.
Regular drinking of cold glasses of water are a great way of keeping unnecessary symptoms at bay, and will also help you feel more alert. Not to mention, all those extra bathroom visits will force you to be more active on your flight!
There is a myth that having a few drinks on a long haul flight will help you avoid symptoms of jet lag. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
In fact, the opposite is typically the case. Alcohol might help you fall asleep faster, but it’s also guaranteed to lower the quality of the sleep you are getting. This will make you feel more tired and more irritable, as well as increasing your risk of dehydration and therefore extra, unwanted symptoms.
A cup of coffee can actually improve your symptoms of jet lag, but only when used in the right circumstances.
If you’re travelling west then a cup of coffee at the right point in your journey may help you stay awake for longer by providing you with an extra burst of energy.
However, drinking coffee when you’ve lost time could prove disastrous as you should be aiming to relax your body in preparation for sleep. Travelling east? Avoid caffeine.
Here at meiklejohn Pharmacy, we stock Circadin, a prescription only medication containing Melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body and is used to help treat the symptoms of jet lag.
If you are travelling more than three time zones our pharmacists can supply you following a short consultation.
Price: Small charge