You have jet lag! What to do now?
If you have crossed time zones in your travels, you know how out of it you might feel trying to adjust to your new environment.
Most people will experience fatigue, irritability, sleepiness, headaches but also problems with digestion and reduced interest in food.
Jet lag occurs because your body’s clock is still synced to your original time zone, instead of the new time zone at your arrival destination.
The more time zones crossed, the more likely you are to experience jet lag.
Your internal body clock will commonly use one day per timezone offset to fully adjust to the new destination day and night schedule.
As we all know a good night sleep is very important for feeling energized and general well-being. So, having problems sleeping can greatly affect your alertness and productivity when arriving at your new destination.
Even though jet lag can’t really be cured in a fast way, there are some things you can do to make it easier and quicker adjusting to the new time zone.
Tip 1: Go outside first thing in the morning.
Get a lot of daylight exposure in the morning. Light is the strongest stimulus for realigning a person’s sleep-wake schedule, and careful control of exposure to and avoidance of bright light to the eyes can speed adjustment to a new time zone.
Get at least 30–60 minutes of natural daylight exposure first thing in the morning.
It doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy or sunshine, the key is to trick the brain into a new morning routine. Don’t put shades on because it will diminish the light reset function in your body clock.
Tip 2: Wear shades in the afternoon.
Get less exposure of daylight in the evening. By tricking your brain into believing that the day soon will be over, your brain will produce more melatonin and get sleepier.
Melatonin is a neurochemical in the brain that modulates waking and sleeping. Melatonin levels are usually very low during the day, begin to rise in the hours before sleep, and usually peak at about 4 a.m., a time when nearly everybody finds it difficult to stay awake.
You can, for example, wear shades in the afternoon or stay inside with dimmed lights. You should also stay away from bright light from electronic devices.
Tip 3: Sunny side up!
Start eating at regular times in the new time zone. Food is just as powerful a trigger for adjusting to the new time zone as light is.
Recent studies have shown that your eating schedule is correlated with how your body clock works. So, try to eat at regular local times and not when your body craves food.
4: Get your sweat on!
By exercising in the morning, you will get the juices flowing by releasing endorphins into your blood and get the muscles pumping. By jump-starting your body, you tell it that the new day has started. Your cortisol levels will also rise and help you stay alert, energized and awake.
If you go for a jog outside, you also will be exposed to daylight!
Working out is generally a good remedy for sleeping problems because by wearing out your body in the day you’ll get more tired and sleepy in the evening.
5. Unwind before bedtime.
Keep the bedroom cool and dark. Try not to overschedule your first day at arrival. If possible set time before bedtime to unwind or to a relaxing activity. Such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, listening to music or something relaxing.
Try avoiding checking emails and other activities that might stress you and start problem-solving.
Don’t stay in bed if you can’t sleep after 20 minutes. Get up and do a relaxing activity until you feel sleepy.
Good luck and sleep well!
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