How to avoid a jet lag
If you have ever taken a flight that passes through different time zones, then chances are you have experienced a jet lag. You were probably exhausted, cranky, not sleeping at night, hungry at inappropriate times and having difficulties concentrating. We will give you some tips to reduce or prevent these symptoms for your next flight.
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What is a jet lag?
A jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder that you develop by flying from one time zone to another: your biological clock does not match the clock of your destination on arrival.
The expression goes that west is best, east is a beast, and it’s true. A jet lag mainly occurs when flying from the west to the east. This is because you will fly ahead of time. For example, if you fly from New York to Paris (a direct flight of 7 hours), you are 6 hours ahead in time, which means you will almost lose a day.
Flights from east to west are generally better because your day will last a bit longer. For example, if you are flying from San Francisco to Bangkok (a direct flight of about 19 hours), you would go back 15 hours in time. So it seems like you are only 4 hours 'further' while you have been on the plane for 19 hours.
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What are jet lag symptoms?
After a long flight, your biological clock is not at the same time as the time of your destination. It varies per person, but this can have a big impact on your body.
You can suffer from:
- Extreme fatigue and not falling a sleep in the evening
- Reduced appetite, dehydration, and upset stomach
- Headache, drowsiness, and nausea
- Irritability and concentration problems
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How do you prevent a jet lag?
Unfortunately, healing does not exist, you will always get a little jet lagged, but fortunately there are a few tricks with which you can reduce the symptoms:
Tip 1: Preparation
Prepare mentally and physically for your flight. Make sure you have packed all your supplies well in advance and your travel documents are ready. This ensures having peace of mind. A few days before you fly it is nice to go to sleep on time, so you are fully rested on your day of departure.
Tip 2: Change your sleep rhythm
You can also try to get to the rhythm of your destination. Go to bed about 90 minutes earlier the days before your flight (if you fly east) or later (if you fly west). After your flight, you will adapt more quickly to the time difference.
Tip 3: Food and drinks
Try to avoid drinks with caffeine (coffee, cola, or energy drinks) and alcohol, both before and during your flight. Caffeine ensures that you become irritable and have difficulty sleeping. Alcohol will increase tiredness and causes dehydration.
To do: drink plenty of water, stay fresh!
Tip 4: Stay active
Do not sit the entire flight in your chair, this is bad for the circulation of your blood and you will become very stiff. Walk around every once in a while, go to the bathroom a few times or pay a visit to talk to your travel buddy who is sitting a few rows away. You will get out of the plane in better shape.
Tip 5: After your flight
When you arrive at your destination, put your watch and phone immediately to the right time. If you constantly remind yourself of the time at home, the jet lag only becomes worse. Do not immediately dive into your bed as soon as you land, stay active! Try to get straight into the local rhythm by going to bed in the evening. And finally: do not exhaust yourself. Do not plan too much on your first days, as a result you will recover much less, you will suffer much longer from the jet lag.
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As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent a jet lag. So don't be afraid to book that flight!