What is Jet Lag and 5 Ways To Manage it.

3 minutes read.

What is Jet Lag?

You have your internal clock known as a ‘circadian rhythm.’ This is what your body follows over a 24-hour period which tells your body when to sleep, and wake up and it also affects your hormones, digestion, and body temperature.

Jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder that affects people who travel quickly across time zones. It happens when your circadian rhythm doesn’t adjust right away to the new time zone. This can result in the following:-

  • Daytime fatigue.
  • An unwell feeling.
  • Trouble staying alert.
  • Mood changes.
  • Stomach problems.
  • Either not being able to fall asleep or waking up early.
  • Impaired thinking. You could experience problems with attention or memory.
  • Irritability.
  • Reduced physical function. Your body may feel tired and weak.

Some research suggests that around 1 in 3 people don’t experience it. Lucky them!

5 Ways to Manage Jet Lag.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic cure for it but it can be managed by:-

1. Adjusting your sleep schedule before you leave. E.g. if you are travelling east, try going to bed one hour earlier each night for a few days before your trip or if travelling west, one hour later. Also, try get plenty of rest before you go and if you can, sleep on the plane.

2. Staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. The humidity levels are low on planes which could make you dehydrated and contribute to your symptoms. So, drink plenty of water. Even after you arrive, limit alcohol and caffeine and heavy meals for a day or two.

3. Staying active and getting plenty of exercise during your trip. Walk around the cabin and you could exercise a bit while seated by lifting your knees to your chest, rotating your shoulders and feet, for example.

4. Trying to get some sunlight in the morning hours of your new destination. The natural light will help your body clock adjust to the new times.

5. Taking naps, for not more than 30 minutes during the day to adjust to the new time zone. Also, set an alarm to avoid oversleeping in the mornings.

Everyone experiences jet lag differently, so it’s important to listen to your body and find what works best for you.

My Jet Lag Experience.

We (my partner and I) were not too bad when we got there. We did drink a lot of water on the plane but didn’t sleep because we travelled during the day.

What we did experience was fatigue around dinner time and one night, we didn’t go out for dinner because we were that tired. It would have been our bedtime in the UK.

However, we adjusted to the new time zone by the third day.

It was a different matter coming home. We both struggled to sleep on the plane, and had stomach ache. It was morning by the time we got home. My partner went to bed the first opportunity he got. I would have gone too, but I my two cats were in and out, needing reassurance!

We went to bed early and slept until lunch-time the next day! We made ourselves go for a walk. On the next day, we still slept until late in the morning.

Even a few days later, we were bit fatigued. I went out for a run and it was more like a slow plod!

However, it’s all been worth it. We’ve had a fabulous time.

Thank you for reading.

Rachel x

Sources:- mayoclinic.org, nhs.uk, sleepfoundation.org, medicalnewstoday.com, clevelandclinic.org, healthline.com

9 thoughts on “What is Jet Lag and 5 Ways To Manage it.

  1. I find I manage the time zone changes within North America (up to three hours) quite well. It’s interesting that you say your return trip was easier. When I travel to England, I find it the opposite. I’ve found the trick to travelling East (to England) to stay up all day when I arrive, and then get an early night. Coming home always messes me up. I wake up in the wee hours of the morning for days. Mind you, I do that when I don’t travel.

  2. The trick of going to bed an hour earlier or later is good. I have already tried it. I also try to sleep on the plane. I got headphones that cancel the sound and that helps.
    Hope you love New York!

  3. I’m so tried all the time nowadays, that I’m not even sure if I’d notice if I’m jet lagged, as long as I didn’t have to get up earlier the first day. Great tips

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