There is a certain romance to air travel, to hopping a plane and being somewhere new within hours. The glamor of jet-setting is one thing; jet lag is quite another. Anyone who has traveled across multiple time zones has most likely experienced fatigue and disorientation upon arrival at his or her destination. Sometimes it can take days after landing to get back into a regular sleeping and waking routine. Keep reading to learn all about jet lag.
Symptoms of Jet Lag
Some of the most common symptoms of jet lag include:
- Daytime fatigue
- Digestion problems
- Insomnia or upset sleep
- Trouble concentrating
- Muscle aches
Diagnosis of Jet Lag
To diagnose jet lag, it is helpful to look at the risk factors. You will probably experience some jet lag symptoms if:
- You cross at least two time zones – Crossing more than two will probably leave you feeling even more out of sync.
- You fly frequently – Those who travel often for business or those who work on planes like pilots and flight attendants are more susceptible to experiencing jet lag.
- You fly east – Losing time flying east often produces worse symptoms in travelers than flying west, when you get time back.
- You are older in age – The older you are, the harder jet lag tends to hit, and you may even require substantially more time to recover from your symptoms.
Treatment for Jet Lag
Due to the common occurrence of jet lag, people are often not treated for it. With proper recovery time, jet lag symptoms should subside. If you travel frequently and experience debilitating jet lag, you may be prescribed medications like sleep aids. Your doctor may also suggest you try light therapy while traveling. This involves using artificial light to mimic sunlight and help you adjust to a new daylight schedule.
Causes of Jet Lag
Travel across multiple time zones is the most ubiquitous cause of jet lag. Additionally, these other factors often aggravate the symptoms of jet lag:
- The way you feel pre-flight – If you are stressed, overly excited, nervous, or sick prior to flying, you may be hit harder by jet lag upon arrival. Be sure to get a good night sleep prior to air travel.
- The dry air in a plane – Airplanes tend to be extremely dry. Passengers from humid climates may experience headaches and coughs during flights. Drinking plenty of water can help alleviate these issues.
- Lack of movement – Sitting for long periods of time can make jet lag worse once you disembark. Try doing stretching exercises in your seat, and take walks up and down seat aisles when you can.
All in all, air travel is still a modern marvel. It is relatively fast and safe. To enhance your flight experience and diminish the symptoms of jet lag, get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and as the British idiom goes, “Keep calm and carry on.”