How to Beat Jet Lag
So it's been a couple of days since you came back from your summer vacation on the other side of the world and you're having trouble getting back into the swing of things. You're groggy, not in the mood for your favorite chili cheese fries, and falling asleep during the day while staying wide awake at night... what's going on? Well, you've got jet lag. Find out what it is, why it happens and what you can do to beat it!
What Is It Jet Lag?
Jet lag is a temporary physical condition that's caused by traveling across time zones. Jet lag is usually why you feel tired and disoriented after you step off the plane.
What Causes Jet Lag?
Your body produces a hormone called melatonin, but it's only produced at night, so it's kind of like your body's way of telling you it's time to go to bed. When you travel across time zones, say from London to California, your circadian rhythm (your body's internal 24-hour clock) goes out of sync with the local time and gets confused with the light and dark cycles. So you could get tired and want to sleep during the day, and be wide-eyed and energetic at night when you should be sleeping. It usually takes a few days for your body to catch up and adjust to the new time zone, usually one day per time zone.
What Are the Symptoms?
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Dehydration and loss of appetite
- Upset stomach
- Swollen feet
How Can You Beat It?
Beat jet lag before it even has a chance to get you down by taking off your shoes as soon as you get on the plane. The low air pressure on board and the lack of circulation from sitting for long periods of time without moving will make your feet swell. So put on those new slippers that are provided underneath your seat, and walk around and stretch as much as possible. Also, skip the airplane food! It's usually high in fat, salt and sugar, and low in carbs. Stay away from caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and pop, and stick to water, lots of water! Once you land and arrive home, you should try to force yourself to stay awake until your usual bedtime. If you sleep when it gets dark - and not when you get tired - your jet lag should go away by the next day.