The Effects of Travel & Feeling Jet Lagged
Traveling long distances via airlines is notorious for causing stress and tension. Due to the hassles of the check in process, the stress of dealing with security lines, and hours spent in a confined space, most of us find lengthy plane trips to be taxing. Making matters worse is crossing major time zones that causes travelers to feel jet lagged. Understanding the effects of travel and jet lag, including its causes, symptoms, and strategies for reducing them, can make traveling a lot easier and less disruptive to sleep and your overall health.
by Greg Montoya
Where Does The Feeling Of Jet Lagged Come From?
Jet lag is a sleep-wake circadian rhythm disorder that occurs when our 24-hour internal clock doesn’t sync with the local day-night cycle. This internal clock syncs with the 24-hour day to support quality sleep and mental and physical health. The geographic location also affects the circadian rhythm because sunrise and sunset take place at varying times in different locations.
Symptoms of Feeling Jet Lagged:
- Causes feelings of drowsiness and fatigue during the day.
- Sleep disruptions include trouble falling asleep, waking up earlier than normal, and fragmented sleep throughout the night.
- Experiencing memory problems or having trouble focusing.
- Feeling physically tired and peak athletic performance can be affected.
- Sometimes causes feelings of malaise (uneasiness, illness, discomfort).
- May experience feelings of irritability. Often feeling jet lagged may also exacerbate mental health issues such as anxiety..
- In rare instances, jet lag may increase the risk of nighttime seizures and sleep paralysis.
- Can cause gastrointestinal issues like nausea, reduced appetite, irritable bowel syndrome, or constipation.
How To Reduce Feeling Jet Lagged
Quality Sleep Before You Travel
Work on getting quality sleep for a few nights before traveling so that you’re not sleep-deprived before your trip.
Make time to take walks (even short ones) or other forms of light physical activity. Exercising outdoors helps recalibrate the circadian rhythm by getting exposure to the sun during daylight hours.
What to Avoid Consuming
Resist consuming acid laden coffee or drinking any carbonated drinks (to avoid carbonic acid which can disrupt your sleep). Eating light meals of healthy foods will also reduce the risk of digestive problems. Choose fruits and vegetables instead of fatty, calorie-rich meals.
Here Are 3 Different Helpful Tips To Help Reduce Jet Lag
Optional Tip 1 – Radical Acceptance! Recognize it’s completely normal to feel jet lagged, but you can lessen the negative symptoms that accompany this. Vigorously exercising while traveling is critical. Make sure you do so, even when you don’t feel like it.
Optional Tip 2 – Deprive yourself of sleep before your trip. Try to get less sleep than normal immediately prior to your trip so while on the plane you will be compelled to sleep. You can use a natural fast acting sleep aid like Go To Sleep Honey. It’s infused with melatonin to help put you to sleep once on the plane.
Optional Tip 3 – Sleep deprive yourself during and after your travel. Force yourself to stay awake on the plane and when you get to your destination, until you are at the normal time (in the new time zone) for you to go to sleep. Stay away from acidic drinks like coffee and sodas to help you stay awake. Rather look for a healthy non-carbonated energy drink alternative like E3 Energy Drink. This will give you both waking energy and mind clarity. Avoid taking caffeine alone to become more alert.
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, being jet lagged can have a negative impact on your trip and productivity, which can last from a few days to weeks. Understanding the effects, symptoms, and how to reduce them will help you on your next getaway or business trip.