In 1966, the Los Angeles Times posted an article containing the first use of the term “jet lag.” It stated that jet lag was a “debility not unakin to a hangover” and that it is caused by a jet traveling so fast it “leaves your body rhythms behind.” Now 50 years later, we are still dealing with the consequences of jet lag. While our bodies have yet to adapt, as a society, we have made several advancements towards understanding jet lag and how to combat it.
There are plenty of tips for avoiding jet lag or decreasing its effect, as well as some luxury items that have slowly begun to edge into the marketplace. Listed below is a look at some of the remedies for preventing jet lag before, after and during a flight, as well as some luxury items that were designed to diminish any effects of jet lag.
Before The Flight
Gradually Adjust Inner Clock – When it comes to avoiding the effects of jet lag, one of the best plans is shifting your sleeping schedule. So if traveling west, a few days before the flight you should start going to sleep later and later and waking up later, and vice versa for traveling east.
Avoid Overnight Flights – Since you lose time when traveling from west to east, it is considered a tougher flight. Even though we can’t always dictate which way we will be traveling, we can do our best to avoid the flights that will cost the most hours of sleep. Most redeye flights offer daylight alternatives, so look for those; if unavailable, opt for a flight with an arrival time that coincides with the late afternoon/evening at your destination.
During The Flight
Eat Lightly – A less-commonly known fact about jet lag is that it can disrupt your digestive system. This could mean hunger attacks in the middle of the night or loss of appetite during the day. To avoid these symptoms, skip heavy meals before or during your flight to allow time for the digestive tract to adapt.
Use Sleeping Pills Wisely – While it may create a more tranquil sleep during the ride, sleeping pills can have adverse side effects. It is recommended only to use sleeping pills when: the flight is longer than 7 hours, flatbeds are available, and the medicines have been used before.
After The Flight
Give Yourself Time – Rather than jumping into plans, allow your body a few hours to adjust to the time difference.
Consider Melatonin – An extensively studied jet lag drug, melatonin is a hormone that tells the body when to sleep and when to wake. So taking it when you want to sleep allows the reset of the body’s sleep-wake phase.
Light Therapy Glasses – These glasses essentially expose your eyes to strategically colored light to regulate sleep patterns and can help reset body clocks.
HumanCharger – This brain stimulator features earplugs that emits light to photosensitive regions of the brain. 8-12 minutes a day provides the needed amount of light daily.