Jet lag is a condition which results from alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms or body’s internal clock resulting from rapid long-distance travel on a jet aircraft across multiple time zones. The body’s internal clock works on a 24-hour cycle and within each cycle your body’s temperature and plasma levels of certain hormones rises and falls. Other influences include exposure to sunlight which determines when we sleep and when we are awake.
When you travel across time zones, your body’s internal clock remains at the point of your trip’s origin while your physical body is transported to your destination. If you are traveling from Los Angeles to London which has a time zone difference of 9 hours, you will actually experience a 15 hour day as you are losing 9 hours of time during the trip. When you return to Los Angeles, you will experience a 33 hour day as you are gaining 9 hours. In the end it all works itself out but not without throwing the body’s time clock out of whack in the process. Preventive steps can help ease the transition into a new time zone, including carefully planning so you’re fully rested beforehand and departure and arrival times that work well with your personal habits. You can even begin the adjustment before you leave, slowly shifting your bedtime to accommodate the upcoming time.
- -Choose a flight that allows early evening arrival and stay up until 10 p.m. local time. (If you must sleep during the day, take a short nap in the early afternoon, but no longer than two hours. Set an alarm to be sure not to over sleep.)
- -Anticipate the time change for trips by getting up and going to bed earlier several days prior to an eastward trip and later for
- -Upon boarding the plane, change your watch to the destination time zone.
- -Avoid alcohol or caffeine at least three to four hours before bedtime. Both act as “stimulants” and prevent sleep.
- -Upon arrival at a destination, avoid heavy meals.
- -Avoid any heavy exercise close to bedtime.
- -Bring earplugs and blindfolds to help dampen noise and block out unwanted light while sleeping.
- -Try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight pharmacy online is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock. Staying indoors worsens jet lag.
- -Contrary to popular belief, the types of foods we eat have no effect on minimizing jet lag.
The condition of jet lag may last several days until one is fully adjusted to the new time zone, and a recovery rate of one day per time zone crossed is a suggested guideline.
Another possibility is diet. It turns out animals — people included — have a food clock in addition to a time clock. This useful system lets animals extend their schedule if they’re unable to find food. Once food’s been found, it’s time to crash, so people can try to use this to their advantage by fasting and then enjoying a timely meal at their destination. Different foods can also help increase your pep or get you ready for bed.