Jet lag refers to a sleep disorder which affects travelers who cross time zones. When rapid travel across time zones affects the circadian rhythm – the internal sleep rhythm of the body, then jet lag is caused. Exposure to light, meal times and other activities of the new location become out of sync with this rhythm resulting in a condition called jet lag. Though jet lag is temporary it affects the comfort level significantly. The body takes a few days to adjust and therefore the sleep cycle, hunger and bowel movements remain out of step with the new location for some time. Jet lag increases with the number of time zones crossed, flying towards the east where time is lost and being a frequent flyer. However, adopting certain steps and using some home remedies can help to prevent or minimize jet lag.
Sunlight is a major factor which influences the body’s internal clock, as it regulates the melatonin which is a synchronization signal to the body. During day time when the light perceived by the retina reaches the hypothalamus, the pineal gland produces less melatonin, whereas during the night when the light is very less, more melatonin hormone is produced. Cabin pressure changes and high altitudes also contribute to some of the symptoms of jet lag. De-hydration due to inadequate consumption of water during travel and drinking caffeine and alcohol during the flight can disturb the sleep and worsen the symptoms of jet lag. The symptoms of Jet lag may include sleep disturbances such as a lack of sleep or excessive sleep, tiredness during daytime, inability to concentrate and function as usual, gastrointestinal problems, constipation or diarrhea, muscle aches, menstrual symptoms in women and a feeling of being unwell.
Home remedies for Jet Lag
Jet lag can be controlled and minimized by following certain steps and using home remedies.
- Make use of sunlight to reset the internal sleep-wake cycle. Combing the sunlight exposure with exercise is helpful. Avoid sunlight at certain times to get the sleep cycle in sync.
- Consumption of coffee and soft drinks containing caffeine can is to be regulated as it makes sleeping more difficult.
- Melatonin can be taken half an hour before going to sleep.
- Arrive a few days earlier if there is an important event to enable your body to get adapted and minimize jet lag.
- Take plenty of rest before the start of the trip.
- Adjusting the sleep schedule prior to departure may also help- like going to sleep earlier if travelling east and going to sleep later if travelling towards the west. Eating meals closer to the destination meal times is also useful.
- Try to sleep at the destination night times only however tired you are.
- Consume plenty of water and stay hydrated and avoid alcohol.
- Arnica is a helpful remedy for sleeplessness, restlessness and fatigue.
- Bellis perennis can help to overcome sleep interruptions.
- Chamomile helps combat emotional and mental stress, sleeplessness, impatience, intolerance and disorientation.
- Ipecacuanha can be used to prevent nausea.
- Lycopodium helps to avoid anxiety, bloating and gas.
- Valerian herb is a natural aid for sleeping and can be used during the night time. It is not addictive and does not cause grogginess.
- Consume light meals with plenty of water.
- The Argonne diet can help minimize jet lag. It involves alternate days of fasting and feasting and ends with a high protein breakfast. On feast days consume high protein diet in the daytime and a high carb diet at night. Follow by a fast day consuming only light salads and soups. Start this diet three days prior to your departure and consume a high protein diet at the breakfast time at the destination.
Jet lag can be very tiresome and can affect vacations or business activities. By taking certain precautions and making use of home remedies this inconvenience can be minimized.