Thursday, December 31, 2009

How to Travel Without Jet Lag

One serious downside of air travel is the jet lag that inevitably follows. Jet lag, scientifically known as desynchronosis, is the body’s physical response to alterations to circadian rhythms, which for humans is slightly longer than the day long (24 hour) cycle of our biochemical and physiological processes. When these rhythms get interrupted, it can leave us feeling tired, unable to concentrate, give us headaches and upset stomachs.

Jet lag occurs when we cross several time zones very rapidly and is worse as we travel from West to East, because we are losing time and therefore sleep. Scientists often say that it takes one day to recover for every time zone your cross.

To combat those nagging feelings of jet lag, try the following tips:

  1. Try to sleep on the plane, especially on long West to East flights.
  2. Set your watch to the local time of your destination as soon as you board the airplane.
  3. Avoid alcohol on flights, as it acts as a depressant and can dehydrate you, worsening the effects of jet lag. Instead, drink plenty of water.
  4. Get up and walk around during the flight. Keep your muscles loose and your blood flowing.
  5. Eat a diet high in carbs, as carbohydrate rich foods can also hydrate us.
  6. If you’re tired upon arrival, consider at taking a 15-20 minute power nap if you don’t have time to get a full night’s sleep.
  7. Upon arrival, physical activity can help get the body back into a regular sleeping pattern.
Jet lag is inconvenient for most and debilitating for some. Try some of these tips on your next flight to combat the feelings of jet lag. If you have any questions about jet lag or air travel, feel free to contact your family physician or Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4406 or visit our website at

No comments:

Post a Comment