Jet lag is a condition affecting people who travel to destinations located several time zones away from their point of departure. Typically, one would need to cross at least three time zones to feel the effects of jet lag, which results in a disturbance of the circadian rhythms. The person becomes “disoriented”.
The various signs and symptoms associated with jet lag are insomnia, tiredness, discomfort, irritability, having a hard time to focus and, especially, a decrease in motor performance. Usually, traveling west is easier on one’s system than traveling east.
What can be done to minimize these little problems? We suggest that you plan your trip taking the following considerations into account:
- Ideally, allow one day of rest per hour of time difference travelled.
- Try to pick a flight that will land around your bed time.
- If your arrival is early in the morning, try to sleep a few hours and then go out!
Acclimatization to daylight is very important. Hence, these tips should really help you fight off this “de-synchronization”. However, there is still one more obstacle to overcome:
Try to drink as many fluids as possible, avoiding alcohol (very dehydrating) and coffee (very diuretic). Furthermore, it is recommended to avoid eating fatty food and to focus on food rich in carbohydrates.
At last, once you have arrived at your destination, limit yourself to beverages that have been hermetically sealed. If you eat fruit, go for fruit that you can peel. Should your destination be in a higher in altitude, avoid salt.
Best of luck!
Extract from the article « Les Maux du conseil » by Carol Gilbert, pht, published in PODIUM.