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Jet Lag: A temporary sleep disorder brought on by travel across time zones.
Regardless of how well we prepare our bodies for international travel, a disruption in our circadian rhythms is, for lack of a more appropriate description, the pits. Sleeplessness, exhaustion, inability to focus your attention, and even gastrointestinal problems are all symptoms of the dreaded jet lag. There are many tricks to help in overcoming jet lag, but sometimes they don’t cure the problem at hand. Jet lag: you are off track and need a reset.
Recipe For Success in Overcoming Jet Lag
Here are some tips and tricks to best stack the sleep decks in your favor. Jet lag shouldn’t ruin your vacation, after all. These tips for overcoming jet lag aren’t a sure cure, but hopefully, will give you the best chance possible.
- Adjust your sleep patterns before you go: Start staying up later, or going to bed earlier, two weeks before your trip. Decide what time zones you will be adjusting to and do your best to mimic their rhythms. This could mean a half days difference from your own patterns, so don’t expect to change fully. But if for instance, you’re able to wake up two hours earlier than you typically would, and asleep an hour or two earlier, you might set yourself up for an easier transition overcoming jet lag once you arrive.
- Drink water, not sugars: As hard as it may be to hear, cutting out sugary drinks, excess caffeine and alcohol will help your body be primed for the transition. If nothing else switch off of any sodas or juices you may typically consume, choosing water instead.
- Soak in the sun: When you arrive the first thing you should do is find the sun. Even if it’s wintertime, get outdoors and let the winter light hit your face. Believe it or not, tissues in the back of your retina help your brain know it’s daytime (even if your body wants to tell you it’s night). This will help your circadian rhythms reset the best.
- Take it slow: Expect to need some time when you first arrive, especially if your travel has you flying east. leave a day for recovery when your trip begins.