For every traveler, sleep deprivation known as jet lag, is always a real possibility. Don’t let the name confuse you, jet lag can affect you whether you are flying, driving or taking a train.
Jet lag is a temporary condition that can affect anyone who travels quickly through one time zone or multiple time zones, and subsequently our sleep-wake patterns (circadian rhythm) is disturbed.
Symptoms of jet lag can include: sleep disturbances, lethargy and fatigue, irritability, confusion, mild depression, loss of appetite, and other feelings and disruptions that affect our daily bodily functions and needs.
Our bodies can take up to a day to re-sync, but there are steps that we can take to avoid the worst affects of jet lag:
• Exercise and eat healthy.
• Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products.
• Stay hydrated by drinking more water during travel.
• Before you travel, slowly adjust your sleep pattern to the time zone you are traveling to.
• Make use of sunlight. Getting outside during daytime hours can help to re-sync your circadian rhythm. Our bodies will adjust easier to the sun’s rotation of the day to night transition.
• Once at your destination try to avoid napping. If you feel that you need to nap try to keep it within 15 to 20 minutes that way you will not stay awake all night.
• Stay awake until 9 or 10 pm in your new timezone.
• Pack a little bit of home with you, such as your own sleeping pillow.
• Traveling east to west and west to east has different affects on our circadian rhythm. We find that jet lag is more prevalent when traveling eastbound versus westbound. When traveling westbound it is easier to adjust to a new sleep cycle since you gain daylight whereas eastbound you lose daylight.