It goes without saying that business travel is an arduous chore, particularly with being way from the comforts of your home while stressing over preparations, meetings, negotiations and logistics, not to mention expenses. Unfortunately, due to the nature of switching time zones, jet lag can further compound the hardships of traveling as part of your work.
Typically, our biorhythms are adjusted to the day/night cycle of wherever we reside. We wake up after sunrise, when the work day begins, and go to sleep at night, some hours after sunset. The regularity of the workday remains consistent for the most part, even with the hours of sunlight contracting and extending with the seasons. As for the shift brought about by daylight saving, that change is marginal and your smart body is able to adjust.
However, traveling by airplane across multiple time zones does result in a dramatic shift in your waking hours, and consequently can have a severe effect on the body. And while there’s no sure way to avoid jet lag entirely, you may be able to mitigate its impact with the following tips:
Drink plenty of water
Getting dehydrated, a common affliction during travel, worsens the physical symptoms of jet lag. It is therefore advisable to drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight. Coconut water, for example, is an excellent remedy for hydration.
Get a jet lag IV if available in your country of destination
Another way to manage dehydration resulting from airplane travel is IV therapy. Not only does the IV fluid restore what you lost during the flight due to the low humidity onboard, Tryptophan, another key ingredient if you are taking the drip before bedtime, will help your body make melatonin on its own, helping you return your sleep biorhythms to normal. In addition, megadoses of Vitamin C in drips boost both your immunity and energy levels.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
While it stands to reason that coffee would help keep you awake and alcohol would help you sleep, both beverages are in fact known to promote dehydration, which can worsen the effects of jet lag greatly and disturb your sleep.
Start the adjustment before your trip
Being proactive is definitely advantageous. A great strategy to combat the effects of jet lag is to adjust your sleep cycle a day before your flight, and while on the aircraft. Simply move your mealtimes and bedtime gradually closer to the schedule of your destination. There are apps on your phone that can help. Set alarms to avoid oversleeping.
Maximize sleep comfort in your destination
If you’re staying in a big city but are used to quiet country or suburban life, noise might keep you awake.
A few things that’ll help you rest include:
- Noise-cancelling headphones
- White noise
- Eye masks
- Comfortable travel pillows and blankets
In contrast, if you’re from the city but are headed out of town, the absence of noise might similarly make it hard for you to sleep. Using a white0noise app on your phone or running a fan can help.
Limit naps in the days following your arrival
Napping for more than 30 minutes can keep you from falling asleep at night. Try to stay awake until your normal bedtime and in order to get up on time the next day. If you absolutely need a nap, make sure to set an alarm for no more than 30 minutes. Keep in mind that engaging in social activities or simply going for a walk can not only keep you awake, but also help your biological clock adjust.
Start adjusting light exposure before your trip to decrease the length of time you will feel jet lagged. If it’s daytime when you get to where you’re going, don’t stay inside! Aim for at least 15-20 minutes in sunlight. This will help trigger your brain to release chemicals throughout the day that aid in regulating your body clock and dramatically improve your quality of sleep.
You can use special lamps to expose yourself to light. Types of light sources that may help decrease your jet lag can be in the form of a lamp, a light box or even headgear.
Jet lag often improves after a few days as your body clock adjusts to the new time zone, so it’s best to be patient! Sleeping tablets are helpful if you’re an insomniac, but they can be addictive so they should only be used for a short time and under medical advice.
Melatonin tablets are not recommended for jet lag because there’s not sufficient evidence to show they work. Instead, try herbal, noncaffeinated warm drinks such as anise lavender mint and passion fruit flower tea.
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