Wondering how to avoid jet lag? Don’t waste valuable trip days feeling sluggish and sleepy. Make the most of your trip! We’ve got a secret used by fashion editors who jetset around the world and back! Keep reading to find out what it is!
How to Avoid Jet Lag
Written By: Lucy Novaro
Please note: please consult your doctor before using any new supplements or medication!
You’re finally taking that long-awaited trip to Asia. You have your luggage, passport, visa, plane tickets, and destination ready. Everything seems exciting when you travel to another country or continent. New places to discover, culture, exotic food, and people.
But there’s one thing that can upset your travel plans: jet lag.
How to avoid jet lag seems to be one of the biggest dilemmas for frequent flyers. This is a genuine physiological phenomenon, a temporary disruption of bodily rhythms caused by high speed travel across several time zones in a jet aircraft.
The circadian system is altered and the symptoms are fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, constipation, skin dryness, joint swelling, or stiffness. (The circadian system is your internal clock that plays an important role in sleeping patterns.)
Jet lag symptoms are stronger if you are traveling from west to east than from east to west. When flying east, if you cross six time zones it will take about four days to recover, and traveling west will take three hours to recover.
Editor’s note: This is exactly what happened to my friends and I when we flew from Los Angeles to Bangkok! Our jet lag lasted exactly four days with the first three days being the worst!
Many scientists say that it takes a day per each hour of difference to adapt; but don’t worry, there are many solutions and products to decrease the symptoms of this condition, which get worse when you travel more than four hours.
One of these products is melatonin, which is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain; its job is to control the body’s circadian system. Light suppresses its release, and when we turn off the lights to go to sleep, melatonin is released.
As we cross time zones, we find ourselves exposed to excessive light when normally it’s our bedtime. Even a three hour difference is significant enough to disturb your sleep pattern. All this affects the melatonin cycles until the circadian rhythms adjust to the new environment.
Flying with a baby? Read these tips and fly around his or her bed times!
Where to Find Melatonin
As you plan how to avoid jet lag, keep in mind that there are various ways to increase your intake of melatonin including supplements and even everyday food.
Melatonin supplements are not invasive and may help if you’re trying to figure out how to avoid jet lag. Drug stores, GNC, and Amazon have a variety of products with melatonin.
Experts recommend to take it after you land in the new time zone to significantly reduce jet lag symptoms. Fashion editors swear by this!
Nutrition and Melatonin
As we age, melatonin production decreases, but here are some foods that contain a high amount of melatonin:
- Oatmeal, corn, rice, and barley
- Cardamom, watermelon, and pumpkin seeds
- Almonds and nuts
- Pineapples, oranges, and tomatoes
More Tips on How to Avoid Jet Lag
- Avoid drinking coffee, taking sleeping pills, and don’t smoke tobacco six hours before, during, and six hours after your flight
- Stay hydrated; drink lots of water and have a light meal (all important ways to have a comfortable flight)
- Try to take short walks every hour during the flight and stretch, try practicing yotox
- When the flight starts, adjust your clock to your destination’s time and use dual timezone watches like these
- If you are going east, try to go to sleep one or two hours earlier a few days before your flight. If you are going west, try to go to sleep one or two hours later before your flight
We’re not medical professionals, so please consult your doctor before taking any new medication, including melatonin. They can best inform you about any possible side effects or allergies.
What are your tips on how to avoid jet lag? Comment below!
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For more air travel tips, please read the following:
- Quick Tips for Air Travel: 9 Useful Ways to Enjoy a Smooth Flight
- Best Air Travel Tips to Fly like a Pro: 5 Steps to Breeze Through the Airport
- Flight Essentials: I Did this While in Emirates Business Class
- Airport Travel Tips: The First-timer’s Guide to Flying During the Holidays
We hope you liked this post on jet lag solutions. Please share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Author Bio: Lucy Novaro has worked as editor-in-chief for Vogue Mexico and Latin America and was co-editor in Periódico Reforma in soft news as a lifestyle writer in fashion, gourmet celebs, and traveling. Lucy has also been editor for Eres, Eve, and Good Housekeeping en Español. She loves to travel and is still involved in writing and translating for lifestyle.