What is jet lag?
Traveling by plane is already more than practical. We arrived and after a few hours we reached our destination. However, especially after long flights, jet lag is often noticeable at the destination point. The reason: On long trips we pass through several time zones. Our biorhythm cannot adapt to the new time zone so quickly, and therefore is temporarily unbalanced. This is noticeable, for example, in our internal clock: this determines our individual sleep-wake cycle and tells us whether we are tired or hungry. Our internal clock is controlled by daylight.
This also affects our melatonin levels, which also has an effect on jet lag. If the level is high, we are tired. On the other hand, when it is low, we are active. Like our internal clock, our melatonin levels need some time to adjust to the new environment.
This is how jet lag manifests itself
Jet lag is a temporary disorder, not an illness. It continues until our bodily clock stabilizes again – travel fatigue usually doesn’t last more than a few days. According to AOK, you need about a day of adjustment time for every two eastbound time zones, while traveling west takes half a day.
Are the signs of jet lag?
- Sleep Problems: Those who travel west lengthen their days. So sleep is delayed, which is consequently manifested in problems sleeping throughout the night. If you fly east, your day will be shortened, and jet lag is manifested by sleep problems.
- lack of focus
- Circulation problems such as dizziness
How to prevent jet lag
But what helps avoid jet lag? Even before your flight, there are a number of things you can do to adjust to the new time zone as best as possible. Before traveling east, you should sleep early gradually. If you are traveling west, it is best to go to bed later than usual.
During your flight, you can already get used to the new times on the plane. If it’s there at night, you should try to sleep as well. A sleeping mask or earplugs can improve sleep on a plane.
Travel fatigue tips
But what do you do if jet lag occurs despite being prepared? Or you didn’t take any action before and now your body clock is ticking away? First and foremost, you should give your body enough time to get used to the new rhythm.
When traveling west: Try not to sleep early. Even if you are tired, you should not lie down in the afternoon, but only in the evening. If you are particularly tired, you can also take a short nap. To stay awake, get as much daylight as possible. This has a positive effect on your melatonin levels and keeps you awake. So take a walk outdoors. However, make sure that you do not sleep for more than 20 to 30 minutes. To get rid of fatigue, you should also drink enough water. Especially after a long flight, the body becomes dehydrated.
When traveling east: Even if you are not tired in the evening, you should not fall asleep too late. A little meditation or an audiobook will help you calm down and fall asleep more easily. Also, make sure you are quiet and dark enough. Earplugs or a sleeping mask can help.
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