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Dealing with jet lag (part 1)

Dealing with jet lag (part 1)

In all of our articles, while we talk about travel and visiting things, food and culture, we’ve never really talked about dealing with jet lag. Well, we’ll repair this problems right now and we’ll start the subject by talking about why jet lag actually happens.

Why and how jet lag happens

First of all we have to make it clear that jet lag isn’t just the resulting tiredness and dehydration after your air trip. You can deal with both those things by simply drinking water and sleeping. Jet lag is a bit more complex, affecting your levels of alertness, appetite and overall sleep patterns.

This tends to happen when you cross multiple time zones and it all boils down to each individual’s circadian rhythm, or what we tend to call our ‘internal clock’ that governs our daily eating and sleeping patterns. This is a great internal mechanism of ours, coordinating a lot of our bodily function, effectively keeping us alive, but when we travel a lot of distance in a very short span of time, the rhythm remains the same even though daylight around us does not.

The contradiction between what’s around us and what we feel internally leads to problems like midnight hunger, 4AM wakefulness or falling asleep at lunch.

Planning for jet lag before you leave

This is a tip coming from experienced jet lag dodgers, the tip being to plan your movements a few days before leaving. You’ll be able to better with jet lag if you’re able to time your flight so that it lands in the evening. You’ll already be tired from the flight and landing in the evening means that it will be much easier to get to sleep naturally when you arrive.

The next part of the plan is to gradually shift your internal clock to your new time zone, the easiest rule of thumb being that you should go to bed slightly later if you’re flying west and earlier if you’re headed east.

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