Many people who travel across time zones find themselves with a condition known as jetlag. Jet lag, also known in the medical community as desynchronosis, is a temporary condition.

Symptoms of Jet Lag

Even though jet lag is a temporary condition, it causes such symptoms as fatigue and even insomnia. Other symptoms of jet lag include such annoyances as constipation, nausea, sweating, loss of memory and confusion, dehydration, headache, diarrhea and even a lack of coordination.  Some people who have experienced jet lag have also noted such symptoms as an irregular heartbeat and being more susceptible to other illnesses.

Why Does Jet Lag Occur?

We all have what is known as a body clock. A body clock is basically a schedule that our bodies are used to. For example, if a person normally goes to bed at approximately 10 pm at night, and gets up at 6 am, and does this regularly, their body gets used to this, and it becomes part of their regular bodily cycle.

Our bodies keep time using the fibers in the optic nerve. When we see that it is light outside, our bodies know that it is not time to go to sleep. Those who travel across time zones by air do not have time to adjust to light and dark in different time zones, our bodies get confused and disoriented.

This disruption causes some travelers to feel jetlagged. For example, if a person leaves one time zone, it will take a while for the body to adjust to the new time zone. Those who are flying between one or two time zones may not notice as many symptoms as those who are flying between three or more time zones. Jet lag is also more severe for people travelling from west to east.

Jet Lag Remedies

There are a number of ways that travelers can deal with jet lag to minimize its interference with their vacations or business trips.

Physical Health

One of the best ways to reduce the effects of jet lag is to be in good physical condition. It is important that everyone eat right and exercise, but it is particularly important for those who travel by air frequently. Being in good general health will help reduce with symptoms of jet lag.

Adjusting in Advance

Another way to combat jet lag is for travelers to begin changing their schedules before leaving on their trip. Each day, the schedule should be changed by an hour or two, and by the time the trip rolls around, the traveler is already partially adjusted to the new schedule. This will reduce the amount of disruption to your sleep cycle when you reach your destination.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

It is also important for travelers to avoid caffeine and alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can cause dehydration, which can have an effect on sleep, and also cause nausea and bowel irritability. Most people are aware that caffeine keeps one awake, so it is important not to drink caffeinated beverages prior to, or during air travel.

Proper Clothes and Hydration

Other jet lag remedies include drinking water, moving around while on the plane, wearing comfortable clothing and shoes.

Sleep Aids

Sleeping pills or melatonin may help the traveler adjust to the new time zone more quickly by taking the sleep aid during the first few nights in the new time zone. Taking a sleeping pill on route to the new time zone may actually delay the adjustment and lengthen jet lag symptoms.

Once travelers learn how to deal with and treat jet lag, they will have much more enjoyable trips with less jetlag.

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