Beat Jet Lag with These Easy Hacks

14 Apr 2021

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What is Jet lag

Jet lag is one of the most common problems that people have to deal with when traveling across time zones that have a difference of at least three or more hours. This can throw your body’s natural rhythm or circadian rhythm out of whack briefly, resulting in a variety of discomforting symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, indigestion, appetite loss, daytime sleepiness, insomnia, irritability, and loss of focus. The severity of these symptoms can vary greatly among individuals, but they usually resolve as your body adjusts to the new time zone. To make it easier to adjust to these effects, especially if severe, you can use a variety of jet lag treatments or home remedies. 

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Causes of Jet Lag

As you may be aware, the human body has what we may describe as an internal biological clock or circadian rhythm. This internal clock is regulated by our daily routines, including meal times and sleep patterns, as well as exposure to sunlight or light and darkness. When traveling across time zones, this internal rhythm is disrupted or desynchronized, resulting in jet lag. For this reason, jet lag is also termed as time zone change syndrome or desynchronosis. These symptoms can also develop in people who do shift work.

Jet lag symptoms can also be aggravated because of changes in air pressure during air travel, with one study finding that cabins pressurized to the equivalent of 7-8,000 feet above sea level can produce the same effects as altitude sickness – reduced blood oxygenation that causes dehydration and discomfort (1). Moreover, long air travel also means being seated and reduced movement for hours, increasing discomfort and further disrupting the circadian rhythm. 

5 Tips To Get Over Jet Lag Easily

If you’re wondering how to overcome jet lag quickly so that you can make the most out of your trip, you don’t necessarily have to turn to medicated jet lag treatments. Jet lag remedies can be just as effective to help your body adjust to the new time zone.

When you travel across time zones try to settle into routines that are appropriate to the new time zone, rather than trying to cling onto a routine that is in sync with your departure time zone. This can be made easier with a little bit of planning, gradually adjusting your daily routines before you even begin travel. It may also help to pick flights with a late-night arrival so that you can crash as soon as you reach your destination. 

Turn To Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone that your body produces to regulate the sleep cycle. Its production is regulated by the rhythms of nature – exposure to sunlight or light, with levels rising as light exposure is reduced. Travel over time zones disrupts melatonin production, so it will help to take melatonin supplements to help your body adjust. When used appropriately, this is one of the most effective jet lag remedies. Studies show that the ideal dosage is around 5mg and it would be best to take the supplement at night or as soon as you reach if you need to crash (2)

Adjust meals

It can be tough to stick to a disciplined eating schedule when you’re dealing with jet lag, but this is one of the simplest jet lag treatments. Eating at erratic or inappropriate times can make it harder for your body to adjust to the new time zone. Studies show that insulin regulation has a significant impact on hunger, meal timings, and jet lag (3). If food cravings surface at inappropriate times, it could be a result of a drop in blood sugar levels and fruit juices or beverages like apple cider can help to address such symptoms while keeping you focused. You can even try taking SETU’s Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies instead.

Put Away Your Phone

Exposure to blue light from digital screens, including mobiles and laptops suppresses melatonin production. This is a problem after sunset, when your body should be producing melatonin naturally and to some extent it defeats the goal of melatonin supplementation. Researchers have found that digital screen use results in 55 percent lower melatonin production, adversely affecting the circadian rhythm (4). As the goal of jet lag treatment is to resynchronize your circadian rhythm, it would be best to avoid blue light exposure instead of turning to any elaborate jet lag remedies.  

Get Some Sunlight

While it’s important that you get adequate sleep, this should be in sync with the new time zone. So, although jet lag symptoms may make you want to stay in bed in your hotel room, make it a point to get some exposure to sunlight during the early morning hours as this can help you beat jet lag. If you aren’t up for a morning walk, at least make it a point to sit out on your balcony once the sun is up as this will help resynchronize your circadian rhythm and hormone levels, relieving jet lag symptoms.

References:

  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa062770
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12076414/
  3. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2019.02.017
  4. https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/112/4/1232.full.pdf

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