Traveling can be very exciting; however, crossing time zones can quickly turn your exciting adventure into a snooze fest. Jet lag can be a real drag. Don’t let it bring you and your vacation down. Find out what jet lag is, what causes it and how to avoid succumbing to it and make the absolute most of your vacation – no matter where in the world you are traveling to.
What is Jet Lag
Jet lag refers to the physical effects the body experiences when traveling long distances and into different time zones. The primary effect of jet lag is drowsiness. The body is tired during the day of the time zone that the person traveled to and is awake during the nighttime of the time zone that the person has traveled to. Other symptoms of jet lag include confusion, disorientation, irritability and even physical illness (though this is usually experienced in the most extreme cases of jet lag).
What Causes Jet Lag
Jet lag occurs when the natural circadian rhythms of the body are disrupted. These rhythms refer to the psychological, physical and mood processes that the body experiences over a 24 hour time period.
The circadian rhythm is more commonly known as an internal clock. This clock guides the body and tells it when to be awake and when to sleep. Jet lag happens when the body has difficulty adjusting its internal clock to the environment that the body is currently in. Someone who lives in New York, for example, will likely experience jet lag when they travel to Australia.
How to Avoid Jet Lag
As you can imagine, jet lag can greatly impact a person and thus can greatly impact a vacation.
However, there are ways to prevent succumbing to jet lag. If you are planning on traveling a great distance, try out these tactics for avoiding the effects of jet lag.
Be Well Rested
The best offense is always a good defense. In regard to battling jet lag, this means that you should be well rested before you travel. Being well rested before you travel will allow you to cope with the effects of jet lag more easily.
Sleep in Flight
Try to get as much sleep as you can on your flight. Bring along an eye mask and soothing music to help you block out background noise and distracting light.
No matter how tempting it may be to curl up and enjoy some shut eye when you arrive at your destination, the best way to avoid the trap of jet lag is to stay awake. Sleeping will only make it more difficult to battle jet lag. Staying awake will help your internal clock adjust to the the external hours of your destination. To avoid drifting off, do something that won’t invite sleep. Go sight seeing, go shopping, eat out and get a lay of the land you are visiting.
Believe it or not, being hydrated will actually help you stay alert, so drink plenty of water in order to avoid the jet lag trap.
While coffee and other caffeinated beverages may be your go-to when you’re drowsy at home, try not to drink caffeine when battling jet lag. While it may make you more alert, it can interrupt your sleep cycle when it actually is time to go to sleep, thus perpetuating the problem.
Jet lag can really be a drag. Instead of letting it spoil your vacation, exercise these tips and you will be able to have a more enjoyable trip.