Jet lag is particularly difficult when you’re headed somewhere supposedly fun and exciting. Just imagine going to Disneyland with the kids and being annoyed at everything Mickey Mouse does, seeing the Himalayas for the first time and going “uuuuggghhh,” standing in front of the pyramids in Egypt and falling asleep, or riding a camel in India and having the worst migraine ever. Nothing could be more devastating and annoying.
What is jet lag?
The medical term for jet lag is desynchronosis, which is a condition that travelers experience during long-distance travel. This condition alters the body’s circadian rhythms and is one of the most hated side effects of travel that lots of people curse.
It works like this: every person has a body clock, the thing that is designed to control circadian rhythms, like the time to eat and sleep. When one enters a new time zone, a person’s body clock needs to adjust—to the daylight/darkness. When one’s circadian rhythm is out of sync, all hell could break loose, and jet lag makes it way to a person’s system.
Symptoms of jet lag
Lots of people hate jet lag for a reason. The effects of this nuisance could ruin a person’s entire day if not handled properly. Some of the most noticeable jetlag symptoms are: extreme fatigue, lack of concentration, lack of motivation, irritability, indigestion, dehydration, dry skin, and yes—possibly even diarrhea (because being tired affects one’s diet which will result to low immunity to bacteria and other nasty things).
Insomnia is one of the worst effects of jet lag. Because crossing time zones makes your body and sleeping habits confused, you will tend to have difficulty sleeping properly at night. This is a result of your circadian rhythms being utterly confused.
Jet lag cures
Jet lag is temporary, but it could take days or even weeks before fully adjusting to it, so this is not a good thing if you only have a few days for a trip then adjust again to a new time zone. That’s why lots of natural and chemical solutions have been tried and tested to help cure this travel curse.
Melatonin – lots of travelers swear that melatonin, a hormone that helps in controlling one’s circadian rhythm, helps in combating jet lag. The 30mg pill could be too much, so lots of travelers advice that 0.5mg is enough. Taking it for at least three consecutive nights will definitely make jet lag less annoying.
Pre-adjusting to a new time zone – this means preparing even before the trip begins. By slowly adjusting your sleep schedule to the new time zone in your new destination, you could slowly lessen the impending headaches and sleeping problems. When you’re going to Japan, for instance, you can adjust your sleeping time weeks before you even get there (you can check lots of different time zone converters online).
Taking homeopathic remedies – Homeopathy, a form of alternative medication, is another jet lag aid that lots of travelers approve of. One of the most famous ones is called “No Jet Lag,” which could be bought in various health and drug stores.
More water, less coffee / alcohol – these are two of the most basic things that travelers must remember in order to ease jet lag. Dehydration could change everything about your body functions and makes jet lag more unbearable. Avoid drinking lots of alcoholic beverages and caffeine in the plane or even weeks before your trip.
With all of these things in mind, you can have less agitation and more good times when travelling. Jet lag could really be a pain most of the time, but while there’s no approved and clear medicine to completely eradicate its aggravating effects, taking these tips into consideration will definitely make things a bit more tolerable.