Before you board a flight, you should get plenty of sleep before you leave. If you are not able to sleep for at least eight hours before your flight, you will experience the effects of jet lag in the worst way. To overcome jet lag, you can adjust your schedule gradually.
What is Jet Lag?
Jet Lag usually occurs when you travel through multiple time zones which disrupts the body’s internal clock which is usually different from the time at the travel destinations which disrupts the sleeping patterns. Here are some ways to avoid it.
Adjusting your sleep schedule
One of the best ways to combat jet lag is to adjust your sleep schedule. If you’re traveling west to east, go to sleep one hour earlier each night. This will help your body mimic the time zone in your new destination. Similarly, if you’re traveling east to west, stay up one hour later than usual. This will shift your awake time three hours earlier than it would normally be.
The cause of jet lag is disrupting your body’s circadian rhythm or internal clock. These rhythms dictate when you should wake up and sleep. So if you’re used to sleeping at 10 p.m. in Los Angeles, you’ll likely wake up at 1 a.m. in NYC. While jet lag is usually only short-lived, it can be dangerous if you’re flying on a long-distance flight.
By managing your sleep schedule, you can minimize the symptoms of jet lag. When traveling by plane, always ensure that you adjust your sleep schedule to accommodate the time zone shift. It can help you sleep during your time of day. A west-to-east flight is a good example of this.
There are various sleep disorders that we might often come across but some of the most common sleep disorders often disrupt various periods of sleep patterns in most people.
In a study by Arendt, J., and Folkard, S., melatonin has a positive effect on jet lag and shift workers. Taking melatonin for a week before a trip can improve people’s mood, sleep quality, and ability to focus.
While bright light and melatonin are great remedies for reducing jet lag, they are not enough. A rapid jet flight may cause temporary misalignment of the central circadian clock, resulting in daytime sleepiness, mood changes, and gastrointestinal upset. There are other methods to alleviate jet lag, such as taking melatonin supplements or exogenous melatonin. The recommendations are based on the latest research.
In the meantime, melatonin is not without side effects. Melatonin supplements are highly effective, but they should be taken at least three to four hours before you go to bed. People with hypertension, diabetes, or seizures should consult with their health care provider before taking any melatonin supplements. Also, it is not recommended to take melatonin if you are pregnant or lactating.
Besides all the procedures, you can also sleep on a comfortable mattress in order to get a comfortable sleep. But do you need a mattress pad in order to gain a comfortable sleep. That is something that most people investigate before investing in a mattress.
Avoiding Light At The Right Times
One simple way to prevent jet lag is by avoiding light at certain times of the day. Bright light after landing can make the body clock advance two hours or more. Try avoiding light for at least two hours before you plan on waking up. The Litebook’s Jet Lag Calculator will help you find the ideal time to be exposed to light to prevent jet lag. By learning when to avoid light, you can create your own personal schedule.
In addition to limiting the amount of light during the night, maximizing sunlight exposure can help you avoid jet lag. Exposure to light can be particularly helpful if you are traveling westward or eastward. The body’s circadian system needs to adjust to a new time zone. Light, in particular, is a natural way to do this. However, it is important to understand that excessive exposure to light during the day can worsen jet lag. In addition, frequent jet lag is associated with lower alertness, digestive diseases, and cancer. In mice, jet lag also increases the mortality rate.
Keeping A New Schedule
If you have an irregular schedule and are traveling across time zones, you can avoid the worst effects of jet lag by learning to control your wake and sleep times. By understanding how these patterns change, you can prevent jet lag before you even leave the airport. A good rule of thumb is that you should try to stimulate your new schedule for at least a few days before you leave. This way, you’ll be able to adapt to the new schedule while in flight.
Another helpful tip for preventing jet lag is to adjust your sleep schedule. If your destination is in the east, try to sleep one hour earlier each night while traveling westward. By staying up an hour past your normal bedtime, you’ll mimic your destination’s time zone for at least three days. You can also use a jet lag calculator to help plan your sleep schedule. By following this schedule, you’ll be able to adjust your eating and sleeping schedules in a natural way, and you’ll be alert after your trip.
In general, it’s best to avoid flying eastbound for several days or weeks. This is because eastbound flights can cause the most severe cases of jet lag. Eastbound travelers, for instance, usually land in their destination time zone in the morning. As a result, their bodies produce melatonin, which reduces their body temperature and triggers sleep. It can be challenging to establish a new schedule while traveling, but it’s worth it.
Getting Enough Sleep
A combination of sleep and caffeine can help you avoid jet lag. Caffeine stays in your system for six to nine hours, which means it interferes with a good night’s rest. Alcohol and rich foods close to bedtime also interfere with sleep. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before going to bed and make sure to avoid the afternoon and early evening. Regardless of the cause, getting enough rest is essential to avoiding jet lag.
Thankfully, jet lag is a temporary issue and usually subsides when your body catches up with its new time. If you travel a lot, it can become a chronic issue, affecting your sleep and overall health. While the symptoms of jet lag usually subside once your body adjusts to the new time zone, those who suffer from it for an extended period of time should consult a sleep specialist.
Managing Your Wakeful And Sleepy Times
Managing your wakeful and sleepy periods can reduce jet lag symptoms. Your body follows a 24-hour cycle as its internal clock. It responds to light and darkness, food and digestion, exercise, and other cues to determine what time it is. Melatonin is one such chemical signal. You should aim to get at least a few hours of sunlight a day.
Traveling from one time zone to another can cause a large amount of jet lag. To combat jet lag, try to gradually shift your sleep schedule while you are in your home country. If you have to adjust your wake times, try setting your watch or phone clock to the home time zone. Avoid taking naps near bedtime as this will disrupt your sleep and prolong your jet lag. Instead, try taking short power naps that will restore your energy and help you sleep.
You should also learn to adjust to your new time zone. Traveling from east to west can cause a jet lag problem. It is particularly difficult for older people or frequent travelers. The good news is that there are ways to reduce jet lag symptoms. If you can successfully adjust your sleep schedule to the new time zone, you can avoid jet lag altogether. You may find that the effects of jet lag subside after a few days.