Around the World and Forty Winks

Around the World and Forty Winks

If you’re travelling, whether it’s overseas or just a short distance away, you want to make the most of the time you have in your destination. But failure to account for a leap or step back through one or more time zones can take a toll on your body’s internal clock. This can require anywhere from a few hours to several days to recover and catch up. During that time, disrupted sleep cycles and unexpected tiredness bordering on narcolepsy can make your life a bit more difficult than you expected. The symptoms of jet lag also include insomnia, a lack of concentration, hunger at odd times, malaise and irritability. If you want to get rid of (or better yet, prevent) jet lag, check out these helpful hints.
 
To avoid, adjust your internal clock. At least a few days before your scheduled departure, begin a gradual shift toward eating and sleeping at times that coincide with your intended destination, if possible. This way, you can adapt to local timings for your routine without any need to settle in or get used to things.
 
To recover, force yourself to abide by local time. This means eating your meals in line with your new time zone, even if that means having breakfast at what your internal clock thinks is 10 pm. You’ll also need to find ways to get to sleep when you’re wide awake, such as darkening the room or playing soothing music. Do whatever you can to sleep when people around you are sleeping.
 
Cutting out coffee and carbonated beverages at least 12-18 hours before your flight 
 
To avoid, cut the caffeine and drink more water. Cutting out coffee and carbonated beverages at least 12-18 hours before your flight (and during it) will help you maintain a good sleep cycle. Be sure to drink a minimum of one glass of water per flight hour. Use eye drops to keep your peepers lubricated, and carry some moisturiser that’s security-passable.
 
To recover, expose yourself to daylight and get moving. The sun is a fantastic cure for many things that cause malaise, such as jet lag and lethargy. Being outside during the day is usually the best way to eliminate feelings of grogginess. Staying active will also raise your endorphin levels, helping you recover from the flight and tiring you out enough to make you sleep when you ought to.
 
To avoid, fly at night. Dinner is served at a normal hour, and you’re more likely to get a good night’s rest than if you took off in the afternoon. But you need to tailor this rule to each journey, because the number of time zones you cross and the duration of the flight will determine if you arrive in the morning or afternoon. Be sure your departure time coincides with this vital bit.
 
Hotel Room 
 
To recover, consider a sleeping pill. Short-cycle relaxants and anti-depressants might be what you need to fall asleep when you simply can’t otherwise, but be careful with this option. Timing the dosage is vital, or you will be extremely drowsy and groggy upon arrival, and that is no way to get through customs hassle-free. Some medications can also be habit-forming, especially for people with a history of dependence, so be sure to consult a doctor before you take any pills.
 
To avoid, cut out the booze. It can be tempting to order a pint at the airport while you’re waiting to board your flight, especially if you’re travelling in business or first class and have access to the airline’s lounge. Skip this, and skip the champagne and whisky on board your flight. Cabin air is dehydrating enough without ethanol speeding the process.
 
To recover, have some melatonin. It’s a non-prescription medication that some studies have linked to circadian rhythms, or the internal clock. It’s thought to control when we go to sleep and when we wake up, and some doctors and scientists are promoting it as the ideal travel supplement. As with any additional medication or substances, consult your physician before taking any.                 ..... Ashwin