Planning Your Summer Getaway? Here’s How to Avoid Jet Lag
Over the next few months, many of us will be travelling abroad to enjoy a much-needed holiday. Whether you will be going somewhere to get some sun or visiting a bucket-list destination, you’ll want to make the most of your time away. The last thing you need is to be so tired from jet lag that you can’t enjoy the first few days of your trip.
What is Jet Lag?
Also called desynchronosis or flight fatigue, jet lag is a temporary condition caused by travelling across one or more time zones. Our bodies are regulated by an internal clock called a circadian rhythm that follows a 24-hour cycle and is responsible for functions such as body temperature, hunger, thirst, blood pressure, and sleep.
Your circadian rhythm is able to tell the time of day by the amount of light and darkness that reaches the optic nerves in the eye. When you are suddenly exposed to more light or darkness than usual, for instance by landing in another country where it is several hours later than it is at your origin, your circadian rhythm is thrown off and jet lag can ensue. These symptoms can range from tiredness to digestive troubles to minor cognitive issues.
Symptoms of Jet Lag
- Mood swings
- Confusion or memory problems
What Causes Jet Lag?
Jet lag is caused by travelling across one or more time zones. There are 24 time zones across the globe that run north to south in roughly 1,600km wide strips. As the Earth rotates on its axis, the sun will rise in the one-time zone before rising an hour later in the next one. This continues on through the 24 hours of the day.
When you are in a new time zone, your body will be operating at the time of your departure location. This can make it difficult to adjust to the local time, leaving you tired when you should be awake and awake when you should be tired.
Who Gets Jet Lag and How Do You Know If You Have Jet Lag?
Anyone who travels across multiple time zones is susceptible to jet lag, children and babies included. If you have travelled a long distance and have symptoms of jet lag, it should be easy enough to diagnose. However, if your symptoms are unusually severe or persist for several days or longer, you should contact a doctor.
Frequent travellers, those older in age, and people with sleeping disorders often have a harder time adjusting to local time zones. It’s also important to note that travelling across 3 or more time zones and/or travelling east will cause more severe jet lag because you ‘lose’ more time travelling in that direction.
Wherever possible, start adjusting your body ahead of time to the timezone you’ll be travelling to. This can be as minor as setting your daily routine back an hour or two. When you arrive, try to stick to the local schedule, e.g. staying awake until it’s a suitable bedtime at your destination.
If you are struggling to fall asleep because of jet lag, you can try taking jet lag medication like Melatonin (Circadin). Melatonin is a natural hormone your body produces to make you feel sleepy at bedtime. Taking Melatonin tablets helps to gently ease you into sleep, making it easier for you to adapt to the local time zone and shake off any jet lag.
Before your trip, visit Pharmacy Planet to buy Melatonin (Circadin) 2mg Tablets online in the UK.