If you have ever taken a long haul flight, chances are that you have encountered one of the most hated side effects of world travel – jet lag. Jet lag is the one phrase that instils instant dread in many frequent flyers. And even though most people have heard of jet lag, there is still a lot of confusion about what exactly causes it, its symptoms and how to prevent and overcome it.
On that note, let’s delve into this dreaded subject a little further and explore the truth about jet lag and what can be done to treat its symptoms.
Jet lag does not happen on all flights
Jet lag is a physiological condition that’s encountered by many pilots, airhostesses and frequent flyers. It is a result of long distance air travel from east to west, or west to east, while crossing time zones. While being strenuous, a long distance from north to south, or vice versa, does not actually lead to jet lag, as there is no significant change in time zones. When travelling from London to Johannesburg for example, only one time zone is crossed and jet lag should not be an issue.
Symptoms are varied
The symptoms of jet lag and their severity depend on the amount of time zones crossed as well as the time of day and the traveller’s personal disposition as some people are more prone to jet lag than others. The most common symptoms are different types of sleep disturbance, like not being able to fall asleep upon arrival or early awakening, as well as general fatigue.
Some travellers have also reported loss of appetite, trouble with digestion and low concentration as symptoms. The reason behind these symptoms is a disruption of the circadian rhythm, which is known as the body clock in laymen terms.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
There is a lot of advice available on how to prevent jet lag, but some of the most widely recognised tips are very simple. Drink a lot of water in order to stay hydrated on the flight as the air conditioning can dehydrate your body and make you more tired. Adjusting your sleeping patterns a few days before the big flight can also be beneficial as well as trying to sleep as much as possible on the plane, especially if your flight arrives in the morning.
How to Cure Jet Lag
Even the best prevention tips are often not enough to avoid the dreaded jet lag. If you’ve fallen victim to it then don’t despair, as there are a few cures to help you through it quicker. The most important of these is getting your body clock back to its normal self as quickly as possible.
Trying to fix your disrupted sleeping pattern can be tricky, especially if you arrive into a hotel as luxurious as the Niagara Falls Hotel in the morning after a long flight with no sleep, and then have to stay awake the whole day. No matter how tempting it may be, try to avoid going to sleep too early. Instead, try taking short naps to boost your energy. Having this discipline is the first step to curing your body of those nasty symptoms that are ever so apparent with jet lag.