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How to Avoid Jet Lag From Your Vacation Flight

Sep 16, 2008
People who travel frequently or through multiple time zones can experience jet lag at some point during their vacation. Jet lag is a term used to describe the experience of people who travel and have a period of disorientation that occurs after landing in a different time zone, typically multiple time zones away from home.

It can affect your physical condition and mental state. Mostly it has to do with your "internal clock" that remains stable while stationed at home, but can be thrown off by a relatively quick journey across time zones.

How Does it Happen?

Jet lag results in serious changes in your sleep pattern that may conceivably influence your waking up up at 1:00 a.m. and going to bed at 4:00 p.m. It also causes fatigue while you are awake because your body is routinely alerting you that it is time for bed. This can lead to headaches, the inability to concentrate or focus, and put you in a really bad mood.

Jet lag depends a good deal on your travel destination and the time difference in hours from your home. Experts agree that jet lag is at its worst when you travel east since your body rhythm gets extended for up to 27 hours when flying westward.

Compensating for Jet Lag

The longer you travel outside your time zone, the more difficult it is to make up for the difference. Once you have jet lag, there is no way to "cure it." However there are precautions you can take to help avoid it in the first place or at least minimize its impact.

One way to avoid jet lag is to begin adjusting to the new time zone several days before you leave for your trip. This means going to bed later or waking up earlier depending on your time zone difference. Doing so will help you to adjust your inner clock.

Preparation Before Your Flight

Although living that way may feel strange at first, it is better that you start at home than slog through your vacation trip because of jet lag. As with sleep, you should also adjust your eating and activity patterns as well so that when you arrive at the destination, your body and mind will be on the destination geography clock already.

If you arrive and experience fatigue at an odd time of the day, it helps to resist the pull of taking naps. Rather, step outside, get some fresh air, and allow the sunlight to help adjust your internal clock.

By using natural light, your mind will think that your body needs to be awake since it is sunny outside. Additionally, try to avoid staying exclusively inside or in darkness if you can during most of your waking hours.

Keep the Good Fluids Coming

You also want to avoid caffeine or alcohol, each being able to make you sleepy or jittery during strange hours. By staying hydrated with lots of water, you help your body to adjust naturally.

Finally, if you can, try to travel out a day or two early to avoid being a walking zombie on your vacation. If you are able to allow yourself a few days to adjust, you will enjoy your vacation much more.
About the Author
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