What is Jet Lag & Tips to Avoid Jet Lag

By: Helen Wilkie

What is Jet Lag

Jet Lag conjures up that debilitating feeling of tiredness and confusion that often overtakes us after a long journey by plane, especially across the ocean to a place where the time is different from the place they left.

It can rob you of the first one, two or even more days of your overseas visit. If you are on vacation, you lose a precious chunk of your well-earned time off; if you are on business, you could blow an important deal because your brain wasn't functioning up to par.

While nobody wants Jet lag, everybody gets it. 

  • 93% of long haul travelers gets Jet Lag
  • 96% of international flight attendants gets Jet lags 

Causes of Jet Lag

  • The biggest cause of jet lag is crossing time zones, particularly from west to east. Although it also happens in the opposite direction.
  • The atmosphere in jet aircraft contributes in two ways.
    First, cabin pressure results in air that many times more pressurized that what most of us are accustomed to on the ground. Second, the air is often recirculated in the cabin and becomes stale. This makes you tired and can even cause headaches.
  • Alcohol
    The majority of adults drink alcohol at some point in a long flight, and flying increases the effects of alcohol on the body by about 200 to 300%. So if you tend to feel drowsy after a couple of glasses of wine at home, multiply that effect by three for each glass you have in-flight and it's not surprising you feel sleepy!
  • Sitting for the eight to fifteen hours
    Sitting down for long periods of time puts extra pressure on your stomach at a time when you are probably eating more often than usual in that period of time. This is because the airline keeps feeding you to pass the time! Altogether, it would be surprising if we didn't get jet lag on overseas flights! 
  • Pre Flight Stress
    The time we spend before our flight can have an effect. How often do you run around at the speed of light trying to get everything done before you leave on vacation? Then you have to pack but before that you must make sure you have selected all your wardrobe items and that they are laundered. Quite often you are doing things until late at night, and you don't even get the amount of sleep you usually take. All these activities add to your stress level, which in turn adds to the effects of jet lag.

Tips to Avoid Jet Lag
Here are some tips on how to avoid Jet lag.

1) Plan ahead as much as possible, enlist the help of family members, go to bed at a reasonable time and get a good night's sleep.

2) Many transatlantic flights, for example, are overnight. You leave in the early evening, so you don't eat dinner before you leave. By the time the flight takes off and the attendants are ready to serve, you end up eating dinner at what is normally close to your bed time. Most people don't sleep well during the flight, and to make matters worse, when you land on the other side of the ocean you have virtually lost five hours out of your normal sleep time.

Solution: try to take one of the growing number of daytime flights. Yes, it's the same amount of flying time, but experts agree the jet lag effect can be much less.

3) Who hasn't felt dried out during a long flight?
It's the dry air on the aircraft. However, drinking alcohol, caffeine or sugary fruit drinks doesn't help, and may add to the jet leg effect.

Solution: Drink lots of water, preferably the bottled kind. Bring your own in your in-flight luggage.

4) Lack of exercise and sitting in an unnaturally cramped position (especially in the limited seating space in Economy Class) add to the misery of jet lag.

Solution: learn some exercises you can do while sitting. Twisting and stretching exercises can help keep your joints limber. Regardless of how silly you may feel, do get up and walk up and down the aisle a few times over the hours. It will help keep your feet from swellingArticle Submission, and may decrease the effects of jet lag.

Don't let jet lag spoil your trip. Use all these techniques and tips to avoid Jet Lag

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