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How to Avoid Jet Lag

February 20th, 2008

Jet Lag is caused by changes in your circadian rhythm. The symptoms vary from person to person. In general, women seem to be more susceptible to jet lag than men and younger people tend to get jet lagged worse than older people. Some common symptoms of jet lag include dehydration (if you are traveling by plane from the dry air), fatigue, disorientation, grogginess, insomnia, irregular sleep patterns, loss of appetite, nausea, upset stomach, irritability, mild depression, irrationality, headaches and sinus irritation. The following dos and don’ts can help you prevent some of the symptoms.

Dos

  • Get a good night sleep before taking any trip
  • If you have a connecting flight take a walk around the airport and on long flights stand up once and awhile to stretch
  • If you are going to be in a plane avoid alcoholic beverages and drink plenty of water to help keep you hydrated. Drinking alcohol will dehydrate you and make your jet lag worse.
  • Taking a shower between flights if possible or right when you get to your hotel room can help reduce symptoms of jet lag.
  • When you arrive at your destination, try to stay awake until the local bedtime. Taking a quick power nap is ok as long as it is a short one and you get up so you do not catch up on your sleep during the day.
  • Get as much daylight as you can to help your body naturally adjust quicker to the time zone.

Don’ts

  • Do not take Melatonin! It has not been proven to prevent jet lag and if you miscalculate, this tactic you can make your jet lag even worse.
  • Do not take sleeping pills! This can be extremely dangerous and even fatal due to the prolonged immobility of the body during the flight. Sleeping pills can cause passengers fatal blood clots and worsen dehydration.

Erica Fischer Asides, Tips, Travel