I don’t know about you but there is only one thing I dislike about travel. That would be how crappy I feel when I arrive some place after being on a plane for however long it was. I even dislike the term ‘jet-lag’.
I hear tale after tale on how to prevent jet lag. If you ask me, you can’t totally prevent it, just reduce how much it effects you. Some lucky people (Calvin) only get effected mildly – and yes I do hate him for this.
So what exactly is jet lag? Jet lag, which is also technically known as ‘Desynchronosis’ or ‘flight fatigue’ is only a temporary disorder but can cause one or both symptoms – fatigue and insomnia. This is a result from air travel when you are crossing over different time zones. It is considered a circadian rhythm sleep disorder. Which simply put, is a disruption of the internal body clock. Besides fatigue and insomnia, I have heard from others that have also suffered some of the following symptoms: anxiety, constipation, diarrhoea, confusion, dehydration, headache, irritability, nausea, sweating, coordination problems, dizziness, and even memory loss. Thank goodness I only get fatigue and insomnia for the first few days!
I was shocked to discovery that when it comes to jet lag it does matter in which direction you are travelling to how much you are or aren’t effected by jet lag. Like when you are travelling east, for example our up and coming trip to America. We will be heading east from New Zealand to LA USA. We leave very late Friday night (New Zealand time) and arrive in American the very same Friday but mid afternoon. So we actually ‘gain’ time. When we get off the plane, yes we may be a little buggered but by the time we have cleared customs we have normally adjusted and are right (to hit the shops). When returning home, back to New Zealand and heading west, we again leave late Friday night (LA time) but this leg we ‘lose’ time. Actually we lose a whole day in the air and arrive very early Sunday morning (New Zealand time). The jet lag always smacks me in the face pretty much as soon as my body relaxes, normally as we are about to drive home.
How do I cope with jet lag?
- Well about a day before we are due to fly out I normally change my phone to the time zone we are heading too. This way my mind adjusts before we get there. So I go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Nothing too over the top, this is why I like flying into LAX, from New Zealand. LA is one day behind BUT three hours ahead. Confused? Ok currently in New Zealand it’s Tuesday 7am, BUT LA is Monday 10am – one day behind three hours ahead – easy! So if a few days beforehand I go to bed a little early and get up a little earlier my body will adjust all that easier when we arrive.
- Do not drink alcohol the day before your flight, during your flight, or the day after your flight. Alcohol can cause dehydration, disrupt sleep, and trigger nausea and general discomfort. So why drink and increase your jet lag when you can simply have something non alcoholic for 24 hrs or so?
- Drink loads of water, again its all about keeping yourself hydrated as much as you can.
- A hard one for both Calvin and myself is avoiding caffeine! Again caffeinated drinks can cause dehydration and disrupt sleeping patterns. What’s more, caffeine can jangle your nerves and intensify any travel anxiety you may already be feeling before leaving. I can’t cut my cafe habit out completely, so I limit myself to only two drinks 24hrs prior to flying out.
- Wear comfy clothes on the flight, if its a night flight it’s hard enough to get sleep on the plane, so wearing tight or uncomfortable clothes will only make it harder!
- When you arrive, adjust to the time you are currently in, meaning if you arrive at 2pm try to avoid having an afternoon nanna nap, go out and do stuff to keep yourself active. Try and have dinner at your normal dinner time and try and stay up as late as you can so you don’t fall asleep at 8pm and wake up at 3am, unless thats the time you normally go to bed that is. Try and get your body clock back on track as fast as you can.
Well, that’s pretty much all I do to cope with my jet lag. I personally do not take any over the counter sleep aides nor any from my doctor either. Also I try not to eat large meals the day of our flight. I find flying on a full tummy only upsets me during the flight, and I don’t know about you, but I hate using the tiny little loos on planes!!!!!
Well that’s it for this weeks Travel Tuesday post. Hit the like button and if you really liked this post share it around. And if you have any other tips you do for jet lag, please add them in the comments. See you tomorrow with Hump-day Wednesday 🙂 A post all about what else, blogging.