How to Avoid Jet Lag?
How to Avoid Jet Lag? Jet lag is a temporary change of sleep time or feel tired and confused after a long journey by crossing several time zones using an airplane. Symptoms that generally occur due to jet lag is a disorder in sleep patterns, feeling always sleepy, and fatigue.
What Causes the Jet Lag Occurrence?
Jet lag is the impact of long-distance travel by plane through several time zones, in a relatively short time. As a result, the physical habits of the body become disrupted. Here are some things related to jet lag:
Internal clock. The internal clock or circadian rhythm is the biological clock that regulates the body cycle for 24 hours. If the internal clock is interrupted, the body may experience jet lag. Biological clock itself is spread throughout the body and consists of groups of cells that interact with each other. The whole group of these cells is controlled by the main clock in the brain in charge of aligning all the internal clocks of the body. On an ongoing basis, the body has its own response to light and darkness, a condition that also determines the waking and sleeping time. This routine will be disrupted when someone travels far into different time zones. Just in flight for a few hours, the body can already be in a different time zone. This speedy journey allows the body to align and reorder the circadian rhythms. Some adjustments that the body must make include:
- Differences in the appearance of light.
- The difference comes dark or night.
- Different meal times.
- Air temperature difference.
The direction of the trip. The direction of one’s journey will also determine the severity of the jet lag experienced. When traveling to the west, the symptoms of jet lag experienced will usually be lighter. This is because the body more easily adjust to a longer day. In other words, the time traveled will increase when traveling to the west and vice versa. It’s easier to delay a few hours of sleep than to force to sleep faster.
Risk factors. A number of factors that may increase a person’s risk of jet lag or aggravate the condition of jet lag include:
- The number of time zones crossed quite a lot.
- Age that is already dusk.
- Less fluid or
- Eating liquor and coffee during flight.
- Lack of sleep.
Symptoms of Jet Lag
Jet lag has different symptoms among people who experience it. The distance and number of time zones crossed will affect the severity of the symptoms that appear. Symptoms of jet lag usually begin to feel after crossing at least three time zones. If you make a short flight and cross less than three time zones, you will only experience mild symptoms. Symptoms that occur usually improve within two days, depending on the speed of the body in adjusting to the new time zone.
Some of the symptoms of jet lag include:
- Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, excessive sleep, or waking up too quickly.
- Digestive disorders, such as constipation or diarrhea.
- Feeling tired and out of energy.
- Feeling unwell.
- Confusion, difficult to concentrate, or difficult
- Menstrual disorders in women.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Memory disorders.
- Anxious and irritable.
- Dizziness and headaches.
- Muscle ache.
Treatment of Jet Lag
Jet lag is not a serious and sustained medical condition. This condition will improve on its own within a period of about two days. To reduce the impact of jet lag, you can try to make adjustments to the biological clock in the new time zone, especially in terms of:
- Eat. Try to eat according to the hours of eating in the new time zone.
- Sleep. Follow the hours of sleep in the new time zone.
- Activity. Perform outdoor activities so that the body more easily adjust to the new routine.
If you are required to take medication when traveling long distances and crossing multiple time zones, ask your doctor before you leave. Your doctor will tell you the right time to take the medication once you arrive at the destination.
The following are examples of drugs or therapies that doctors may recommend in jet lag patients:
- Melatonin. Melatonin is a body hormone that functions to tell the brain if the body needs sleep. When you have trouble sleeping at night after arriving in a new time zone, you may be given a drug that contains the hormone melatonin to facilitate sleep. But certainty whether this drug is effective to overcome jet lag still can not be proven with certainty.
- Sleeping pills. This medicine is very helpful for some people who have jet lag. But because this drug can make an addiction, then doctors rarely recommend consumption of this drug more than a few days. These drugs can also cause side effects, such as headaches, diarrhea, and runny nose.
- Light therapy. An internal clock or a person’s circadian rhythm is affected by sun exposure. When traveling across time zones, one’s body must also adapt to the new schedule of rising and sunset. Light therapy can facilitate the process of adaptation of a person, by shining the artificial light that mimics the sunlight to the patient’s eye for some time.
Jet Lag Prevention
There is no way that can be used to prevent jet lag, especially if you travel across multiple time zones. But you can decrease the effect of jet lag itself. If your trip is not too long, for example, about 3 days, you can keep the time zone of origin to keep the body’s biological clock undisturbed. Here are some ways you can do to lower the effects of jet lag:
- Change the sleep routine. Adjust your bedtime with your destination time a few days before leaving.
- Limit exposure to bright light, because exposure to bright light becomes one of the things that affect the body’s internal clock.
- Enough sleep. Try to get enough sleep before you make the flight. Fatigue may aggravate the symptoms of jet lag you are experiencing.
- Avoiding dehydration. Be sure to consume plenty of water when you are on the way and after arriving at the destination. It aims to counteract the effects of dry air inside the aircraft cabin and prevent dehydration.
- Limit consumption of caffeine and liquor. Should avoid drinks containing alcohol and caffeine. Both of these ingredients can increase the risk of dehydration and aggravate the symptoms of jet lag experienced.
- Rest during the trip. Do some sleep while you’re on the go.
- Arrive at the destination early. If you are traveling long distance (eg for an important meeting), try to get to your destination a few days early. This will give the body time to adapt to changes in sleep patterns that occur.