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Jet Lagged - Prevention

Sep 6, 2008
The processes of all animals and plants follow a 24-hour rhythm called body clock. This is our personal synchronization with the daylight-darkness cycle. When you travel in an airplane crossing time zones, say from New York to Houston, your body clock cannot adjust itself quickly enough. Your will lose sync with the new daylight-darkness cycle of where you left (NY) and does not recover quickly for the place that you are going (Houston). This causes a condition of disorientation called jet lag.

A jet lagged person can become depressive, irritable and finds it difficult to concentrate. His sleep pattern may get disturbed; he may lose appetite and at times may feel dehydrated. Condition of swollen feet may also develop.

Jet lag is not caused by the actual time in the air spent but crossing time zones. A journey from Frankfurt to New York is likely to cause jet lag but a journey from Frankfurt to Johannesburg will not. These two cities, Frankfurt and Johannesburg, lie within the same time zone. The length of time in an airplane is sure to cause discomfiture mostly because you are sitting in a little seat in the same cramped position for a long time but not necessarily jet lag.

Everybody does not suffer jet lag nor to the same extent. Women in reproductive age group are more prone to suffer from a jet lag. Also jet lag seems to affect the younger set more than the old. Physiological adjustability of a person plays a large part. If you suffer from jet law there are certain preventative measures you can take to avoid severity of discomfort from jet lag

Prior to your flight get a good night's sleep. Avoid embarking on the journey under strain; try to spend some relaxed time prior to the flight. Drink alcohol in moderation on the aircraft and, as always, DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. (Aren't you tired of hearing that?) Get some light exercise such as walking up and down the aisle and a little stretching will help. Remove your shoes and try to stretch your feet, wiggle your toes some.

You can find many "anti jet lag" suggestions. Act on them with caution. Do not take sleeping pills to get over jet lag as some people may suggest; it may have rather unpleasant consequences. There are anti jet lag diets on the market. Efficacy apart, it is such a cumbersome remedy that it turns out to be not a very practical solution. An OTC (over the counter) homeopathic drug is available which is said to be effective and being homeopathic medicine it is stated to be free of side effects.

Drugs such as Melatonin are advertised as an anti jet lag drug; but you have to start taking it at specific times a few days prior to the journey and continue taking it for a few days after completion of the journey. Its anti jet lag claims are not really supported by research. On the contrary it may lead to worsening of the jet lag symptoms. In fact in UK Melatonin is banned altogether.

Some people may feel a jet lag condition for many days after their flight. It is suggested by medical experts that a reasonable rate of recovery from jet lag at the rate of "one day per time zone. To get a quick recovery from jet lag after you arrive at your destination rest well, relax, eat sensibly and exercise in moderation. This does not sound like the recipe for a fun vacation but try to have fun anyway. Bon voyage!
About the Author
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