Jet lag is an experience common to travelers who cross more than one time zone, usually a requirement when traveling internationally. Unfortunately, it can put a serious damper on your ability to enjoy your travels. The good news is that there are steps you can take to manage jet lag.
What is jet lag?
Jet lag is the laymen’s term for a medical condition called desynchronosis. It is a temporary sleep condition caused by the disruption in your sleep cycle (also known as your circadian rhythm), which can cause you to feel sluggish and fatigued. Other symptoms include difficulty in getting a full night’s restful sleep, stomach problems such as constipation or diarrhea, and dehydration.
The problem for travelers dealing with jet lag is that the more time zones you cross, the longer it takes to recover from jet lag and feel like your regular well rested self. Typically crossing more than two time zones rapidly will yield symptoms of jet lag and the time required to recover is about one day for every two time zones you’ve crossed.
Travel to the east tends to create more dramatic jet lag symptoms than travel to the west because eastern travel causes you to lose hours as you change time zones. Furthermore, jet lag tends to affect older travelers more dramatically than younger travelers.
This can be a real detractor from a planned vacation if you feel out of sorts for half the time you’re on your vacation as your body adjusts. Fortunately, there are several ways to help mitigate the effects of jet lag.
While there is no absolute guarantee to completely eliminate jet lag, just as there is no surefire cure for fatigue besides rest and time, the suggestions that follow can help your body recover from the effects of long distance travel across multiple time zones.
Jet lag does not have to be the main feature of your international vacation. Following these tips can limit its effects and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to experience the world you’ve traveled over such a long distance to see.
C.W. Garay is an alumnus from the University of North Texas, where he received both his BA in psychology and an MA in English, specializing in creative writing, fiction. When not traveling he resides in Denton, TX, rated as the number one small town in which to live in the US according to Business Insider’s 2013 survey. In addition to writing articles on traveling, he also writes fiction under a pseudonym. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.