Don’t snooze through your visit. Beat jet lag with our five top tips.
What causes jet lag?
The cause of jet lag is pretty simple. Your body clock is synchronised with the night and day, sleeping and waking patterns of your home time zone. When you travel through time zones, the local time is at odds with your body’s rhythms of when it wants to eat, sleep and wake.
It gets worse the further east or west you travel and is generally worse going east, as the body finds it harder to change to a shorter day, rather than a longer one. If you fly west, you might have trouble staying awake, but it will be easier to wake up. Jet lag can make you tired, grumpy and less able to concentrate, so it’s worth taking some steps to help cope.
OK, that’s simple, so what can I do?
Sadly, the treatment for jet lag is not as simple as the cause. There are many drug-based solutions suggested, with ingredients like melatonin (and even Viagra!) and some people rely on sleeping pills. But you needn’t pop pills to combat jet lag.
Tip one: Before you travel, make sure you get plenty of sleep. It will make it easier to cope with the disruption.
Tip two: Try as much as possible to adapt to your destination time before you travel. Shifting your eating and sleeping patterns even part way will lessen the impact.
Tip three: Change your watch and adopt eating and sleeping times of your destination as soon as you board the plane.
Tip four: The most direct connection between your internal body clock and the outside world is light and natural light has been shown to be three times better at helping you adjust then artificial lighting. Try to get outside during the day and if possible let your body experience sunrise and sunset outside.
Tip five: Roll with it! Remember you are travelling to enjoy yourself. If jet lag means you become more of a night owl or early bird then get out there and enjoy the change.
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