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Jetlag: How Its A Thing

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 31-05-2024
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Jetlag: How Its A Thing, jetlag
Jetlag—it's that groggy, disoriented feeling you get after a long flight across multiple time zones. If you've ever traveled internationally, chances are you've experienced this phenomenon firsthand. But what exactly is jetlag, why does it happen, and most importantly, how can you cope with it? Let's delve into the science and practical tips to help you navigate the world without feeling like a zombie.

What is Jetlag?

Jetlag, or desynchronosis, occurs when your body's internal clock (circadian rhythm) is out of sync with the local time at your destination. Our circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. This internal clock is influenced by external cues like light and darkness.

Why Does Jetlag Happen?

The primary cause of jetlag is the disruption of your circadian rhythm. Your body is used to a certain schedule, and it takes time to adjust to a new one. The symptoms of jetlag can include:

- Fatigue and daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings or irritability
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Insomnia or disrupted sleep

How to Cope with Jetlag?

While you may not be able to avoid jetlag entirely, there are strategies to minimize its effects and help your body adjust more quickly to a new time zone.

Before Your Trip

1. Adjust Your Sleep Schedule: Gradually shift your sleep schedule closer to your destination's time zone a few days before you travel.
2. Get Plenty of Rest: Being well-rested before your flight can make it easier to cope with jetlag. Avoid starting your trip already sleep-deprived.
3. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can worsen jetlag symptoms. Drink plenty of water before and during your flight.

During Your Flight

1. Set Your Watch: As soon as you board the plane, set your watch to the time at your destination. This helps you start adjusting mentally to the new time zone.
2. Try to Sleep: If it’s nighttime at your destination, try to sleep on the plane. Use earplugs, an eye mask, and a neck pillow to make yourself comfortable.
3. Move Around: Get up and walk around the cabin periodically to reduce the risk of blood clots and help you stay alert.

After Arrival

1. Expose Yourself to Natural Light: Light exposure is one of the most powerful cues for resetting your circadian rhythm. Spend time outside during daylight hours at your destination.
2. Stay Awake Until Bedtime: Try to stay awake until the local bedtime, even if you’re tired. This helps your body adjust to the new schedule more quickly.
3. Take Short Naps if Necessary: If you’re extremely tired, take short naps (20-30 minutes) to avoid interfering with your nighttime sleep.
4. Consider Melatonin: Melatonin supplements can help regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Consult a healthcare professional before using melatonin.

Jetlag is a common but manageable side effect of modern travel. By understanding its causes and implementing strategies to cope, you can minimize its impact and enjoy your trip to the fullest. Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, a little preparation can go a long way in helping your body adjust to new time zones. So the next time you find yourself on a long-haul flight, remember these tips and say goodbye to jetlag-induced grogginess. Happy travels!
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