JETTING off abroad to sunny Spain? Whether you are heading off to Ibiza or the popular destination of Benidorm, you may find yourself contending with a problem specific to travel – jet lag.
Unbeknown to many, jet lag affects you mentally, physically and socially.
Don’t underestimate the power of jet lag to rob you of your first days abroad and seriously undermine your working / driving / important decision-making and ability when you arrive.
What is jet lag?
It’s when your circadian rhythm is disturbed.
The circadian rhythm is your biological clock, the one that tells you that you’ve been up long enough and need to catch some sleep.
The main symptoms of a disturbed circadian rhythm are grogginess and confusion.
It’s simply your body trying to adjust to a new time zone. It can take a few days for your circadian rhythm to adjust from their original settings.
According to experts, jet lag is worse if you travel east, because it’s harder to adjust your rhythms to a shorter day than a long one.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms are:
- Lack of concentration
- Muscle soreness
- Sweating and anxiety
- Irregular period in women
- Emotional mood swings
How to prevent jet lag
There are ways to lessen the impact of jet lag and adjust that bit faster.
- Try to adjust your sleeping pattern a few days before you travel. Get up earlier or head to bed later. Start matching your habits to your new time zone.
- Be choosy with flights. Cheapest is not always the best. Travelling at 1am will often mean the following days are ruined. Choose a flight that arrives in the early evening of your new time zone and stay awake until 10pm.
- Nap on your flight or stay awake depending on how your new time zone works. Catching some rest is a good idea as some people say being stressed makes jet lag worse.
- Refrain from drinking alcohol. The alcohol will dehydrate you and make your jet lag even worse.
- Choose light meals with plenty of protein. Junk food won’t help.
- Stroll up and down the aeroplane aisles before and after the food and duty free cart arrives. Stretch your arms and rotate your joints to keep your circulation flowing.
- You can take medicine if you need some extra support
- Head into sunlight as soon as you can. This helps to re-set your internal clock, which is based around daylight.
- When you board your flight change your watch to local time to employ some mind over matter. The sooner you start to adjust the sooner your jetlag is vanquished.
Jetlag can ruin your time abroad, especially if you don’t adjust and spend all your time fighting your body’s rhythm.
Be kind to your body, pay attention to its basic needs and you’ll find you overcome your circadian rhythm.
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