Coping with Jet Lag

Jun 12, 2019
3 min read

Jet Lag – nothing fun about it at all. Anyone who has ever traveled between time zones can attest to the heavy feeling that comes after. Jet lag disorder is basically the fatigue that comes from having your body clock thrown off sync. Normally, jet lag occurs as a result of frequent air travel and especially traveling through multiple time zones. Experts cite that traveling from the east coast to the west coast seems to be especially difficult.  Jet lag can vary in severity and affect each individual differently. The time it takes to get back to feeling like yourself typically occurs a few days following travel.

Common Symptoms Related to Jet Lag The most common symptom is not being able to sleep well – or insomnia.  Overall, there is a feeling of unwellness which seems to be a universal symptom among weary travelers. Other symptoms common to jet lag are lethargy, irritability, stomach upset, and feeling disoriented. Most report a feeling of just not being able to “get it together” or lack of vitality.

Things You Can Do to Help Avoid Jet Lag

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine. We know it is tempting to have an in-flight cocktail to help you relax. The bad news is that it can intensify symptoms of jet lag. Sticking with water or juice is your best bet according to medical experts. The reason is that consuming alcohol and caffeine during flight tends to lead to dehydration. Paired with the dry cabin pressure, it can be a recipe for disaster.

Plan Ahead. It may help to choose a flight that arrives early in the evening and to set your clock directly after landing. Planning ahead may help too in the way of planning pre-travel days according to the time zone in which you are traveling to better acclimate.

Get comfortable. One of the other things that may help is to pay attention to your environment pre- and post-travel. Try and get yourself situated in a place that mimics your most comfortable surroundings. Examples of setting up your creature comforts may include:

  •    Your favorite cup of tea at bedtime
  •    Use of neck rolls, eye masks, or earplugs
  •    Sleeping with your favorite pillow and blankets
  •    Using mediational music to aid in helping you relax into sleepy-mode
  •    Try linen sprays or essential oils in calming lavender
  •    Keep your diet the same and avoid heavy meals

Exercise. Studies have found that fit people adjust better to traveling between time-zones. Stretching mid-flight or in between flights may help ease the discomfort of sitting too long. Even a long walk post flight can get be relaxing enough to help induce a nice slumber when it is time.

Consult with your doctor. Checking with your doctor before you plan to travel is strongly recommended. For people with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, there may be some added precautions you should take.

Doctors on RingMD can provide you with medical advice, and depending on where you are, they may also be able to write you a medical certificate and online prescription. You have a right to deal with your pain. We’re working to make sure everyone takes health and wellness more seriously, and everyone gets the care they need.

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