Jet lag and sleep


When traveling, it is important to take jet lag into account, as it can have serious effects on your biological clock. It may even ruin a part of your holidays… Be aware that your organism will need several days to adjust to the new time and to overcome jet lag. For every time zone crossed, expect one to three days of adaptation. Among the symptoms of jet lag, somnolence during the day, insomnia, fatigue, lack of concentration, confusion, lack of appetite and hunger at unappropriated hours can be quoted.

To lower the negative impacts of jet lag on your holidays, some precautions can be taken before your departure, while you are traveling and after your arrival :

  • During the week preceding your departure, gradually set your watch to the time of your destination and progressively start to live according to this new time.
  • Avoid drinking coffee, tea and soft drinks containing caffeine in the twelve hours preceding your flight. Also avoid consuming alcohol before and during your flight.
  • Eat high carbohydrate food before traveling, to enable your organism to have sufficient glycogen stores.
  • Stay well hydrated during your flight by drinking at least a glass of water every hour, even if you don’t feel thirsty. If you wear contact lenses, clean them and remove them before the flight. Always carry moisturizing lotion or spray in your hand luggage.
  • Sleep in the plane. Preferably travel by night, as it will be easier for you to sleep, compared to a flight in the middle of the afternoon. Traveling is tiring, and sleeping in the plane will help your organism to recover and to be stronger to face the bad effects of jet lag. If you have trouble falling asleep while flying, you can resort to sleeping pills. But always use these drugs with caution and make sure you will be fully awake during the landing procedure. It is better to seek advice from a doctor regarding the use of these medicines. For long-haul flights, book a seat in first class if possible, you will have more space and a more comfortable sleep.
  • Upon arrival, expose yourself to the sun, especially after a long-haul flight. This will help your body to readjust its internal clock.
  • Take melatonin during the first days after your arrival. This hormone is available in pharmacies without prescription. According to specialists, it minimizes the bad effects of jet lag and helps your organism to readjust its internal clock. Taking 3 milligrams of melatonin before sleeping during the first days of your holidays should enable you to rapidly overcome jet lag.

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