Tips to overcome Jet Lag

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Many people choose to travel across the world to receive the best medical care which is often unavailable in their own country. Flying long distances, especially for medical treatment can be a daunting and strenuous task and so can be coping up with Jet Lag. Jet Lag is caused due to misalignment between the external environment and the internal clock in the brain that drives our daily activities, alertness and ability to sleep.

People who travel long distances crossing several time zones, find ambient light and other environmental cues make their internal clock go haywire. For few it may feel a little out of whack while others are dogged by the symptoms of Jet Lag like experiencing fatigue, irritability, nausea, difficulty in concentrating, headache, and stomach upset, they may also find trouble sleeping, which makes them shallow and fitful.

What happens during Jet Lag?

An internal master clock — a cluster of nearly 20,000 neurons in the brain just above the optic nerve controls the circadian rhythms. In response to light and other environmental cues, it harmonizes the functions of different body systems over a 24-hour period. As the light and environment changes, our internal clock uses environmental cues to reset itself, at an average of an hour or a day. In case if you cross several time zones within a day, your internal clock doesn’t get enough time to synchronize your body with the new time zone.

Tips to minimize the effects of Jet Lag:

There is no sure way to avoid jet lag entirely, but you can reduce its effects. Try these tips the next time you travel:

 

  • If you are travelling shorter distances

On the trips that involve crossing one or two time zones, you may just need to make some minor adjustments to your regular home schedule like eating meals, going to bed and awakening a little earlier (if travelling towards east) or a bit later ( if heading towards west).

Tip: At your destination, schedule appointments or get engaged in activities to avoid sleeping in daytime.

 

  • ● If you are travelling longer distances
  1. 1. Start to shift before the trip: For few days before you leave, adjust with the mealtimes and bedtime incrementally closer to the scheduled destination. Even a partial switch may help.
  1. 2. Stay hydrated: Mild dehydration is common when travelling by air. Drink plenty of fluids during, and after your flight. Avoid caffeine and alcohol entirely as they promote dehydration and worsens the symptoms of jet lag, both can also disturb your sleep.
  1. 3. Switch as rapidly as possible upon arrival: Don’t sleep in until it’s bedtime in the new time zone.
  1. 4. Move around: Take a walk, do some static stretch exercises on the flight. But after you land, avoid heavy workout near bedtime, as it can delay sleep.
  1. 5. Use the sun to help you re-adjust:.  Exposure to sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythms. In case of travelling from west to east, you need to wake up early, get exposed to the early morning sun and if travelling east to west, you need to wake up late, get yourself exposed to late afternoon sunlight.
  1. 6. Eat sensibly: Avoid heavy diets such as high carb or fatty diet close to bedtime because that can be disruptive to sleep.

At Apollo Hospitals, our mantra is: “Tender Loving Care”, and we cheerfully welcome international travelers. It is our goal to make all foreign patients feel at home and comfortable, to make your health care experience in India a pleasant one. To know more visit www.apollohospitals.com

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