You finally aboard the plane to the sunny island you have been planning for months. The weather is warm, the palm trees greet your arrival, you feel the sand in your toes and can hear the ocean breeze. It seems like you have reached the ultimate paradise- except you can’t seem to fall asleep at night no matter how tired you are. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you officially have jet lag – the wicked enemy of travelling so far out
Jet lag is a common sleep disruption that happens when you fly across different time zones. This sleep disruption be experienced from children to seniors. The average person usually needs to fly over three zones to truly feel jet lag; the more time zones one crosses, the more lethargic they tend to feel. Jet lag is normally not a permanent sleep disorder, usually fixed within a week. People who travel from west to east generally have a harder time with jet lag then when travelling from east to west. For example, if you travel from Canada to Spain, it will take maybe nine to ten days to recover versus if you travel from Spain to Canada when it could take about four days to recover.
Symptoms of jet lag vary but almost everyone experiences insomnia and fatigue. Other symptoms include anxiety, stress, short temper, diarrhea, headaches, sore throat, indigestion, cold sweats, lack of focus, and confusion.
Our circadian rhythm functions on routines based on light exposure, mealtimes, social interactions. When we are travelling through time zones so quickly, our internal clock cannot adjust at such hyper speed. Our bodies need time to properly readjust to the new time zone.
- A good defense against jet lag is to adjust your sleeping habits a week before you fly starting with an hour a day; earlier if you are heading out east and later if you are heading out west
- Sunlight is a great resource to help offset the damage done by jet lag as it promotes sleep. A good tip is to get as much exposure to sunlight as possible the day before you fly.
- The circadian rhythm relies not only on external routine but also on psychological routines as well. A good practice is to set your watch to the time in the destination you are going to travel. This helps you have the right mind-set and thus helps the your internal clock reset.
- If you are heading out east to arrive in the morning try to eat foods that can boost your serotonin at the airport so that you will fall asleep on the plane. Whereas if you are flying west, delaying your sleep on the plane will highly reduce jet lag.
- Completely avoid caffeine and alcohol as it can highly affect your sleep schedule. In addition make sure to drink the appropriate amount of water to avoid dehydration.
- Travel with Resty Sleep Trainer. It is portable and easy to bring in your carry on. Resty works anywhere and the white noise along with the breathwork light will be sure to help you sleep and start your new routine.