Travelling is fun. Usually. But long-distance flights can be very exhausting and annoying. You’ re definitely more than happy when you finally get to leave the plane. You grab your bags, get into a taxi and check into your hotel.
And then it hits you: Jet lag! Whether you are on a business trip or a holiday, jet lag can ruin up to a few days of your time spent abroad.
What is a jet lag?
Well, a jet lag is a series of symptoms that occur when our internal body clock is disrupted. That small group of cells made up of unique ‘body clock’ genes, called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN, turns on and off and tells other parts of the body what time it is and what to do. The body clock keeps us in tune with the pattern of day and night and also affects hunger, mood and blood pressure. One of the main signals that help to regulate our internal body clock is light, which helps us to reset our internal clocks each day to match the sun.
How does a jet lag affect us?
Everybody has probably suffered from the symptoms of a jet lag before and can relate to the following list. Common symptoms involve fatigue, confusion and lack of awareness. But, as if that’s not bad enough, jet lag has also been shown to seriously disrupt our genes, throwing them off their normal rhythms. Also, the neuron growth in our brains is reduced, our learning ability and memory capacity is decreased and stress is induced.
What can we do to cure jet lag?
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. But we did some research and found six effective ways, applicable to everyone, to get you looking and feeling much better in (almost) no time:
1 Avoid caffeine and alcohol
As coffee and alcohol dehydrate your body, it is the worst idea to consume one of them after a long flight. Be strong to resist the urge of a coffee when you leave the plane to cure your jet lag faster.
Long-distance flights can leave you feel stiff, tired and extremely dehydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight to alleviate your jet lag symptoms faster.
3 Have some fresh juice
The burst of nutrients will help refresh and re-hydrate your body. Also, is boosts your immune system that you won’t get sick on your trip.
4 Find natural light
When our body clock is out of rhythm, we are feeling tired. The probably most effective way to combat your fatigue is manipulating your light exposure. Limit the amount of artificial light and increase the amount of natural light. Natural light will give you Vitamin D and help your body clock to adjust to the new time zone. Heading East? Look for morning sunlight. Heading West? Go out for the afternoon sun.
5 Stretch it out
Especially long flights can be very stressful and stress can make the effects of jet lag even worse. Get your body moving in doing some yoga or going to the gym to raise your energy level.
6 Get some Vitamin D and B
Vitamin B-12 is a natural way to keep your body alert and energised, without the shaky side effects of sugary energy drinks. Vitamin D is related to the melatonin levels in our bodies which helps us to get ready to sleep. The easiest way to literally soak up some Vitamin D is getting out in the sun. In winter time you probably have to get a supplement from the local drug store.
With these tips you can now look forward to your next long-distance flight!