Jet lag is caused by changes in your circadian rhythm. The symptoms vary from person to person but in general, women seem to be more susceptible than men, and younger people tend to feel jet lag worse than older people.
Some common symptoms include dehydration (if you are traveling by plane as a result of the dry air), fatigue, disorientation, grogginess, insomnia, irregular sleep patterns, loss of appetite, nausea, upset stomach, irritability, mild depression, irrationality, headaches and sinus irritation. The following dos and don’ts can help you prevent some of these symptoms.
- Get a good night sleep before taking any trip. If you have a connecting flight, there are lots of ways to explore the city, the airport, or to rest, depending on what keeps you energized/rested the most!
- If you are going to be in a plane, avoid alcoholic beverages and drink plenty of water to help keep you hydrated. Drinking alcohol will dehydrate you and could make your jet lag worse.
- Take a shower between flights, if possible, or right when you get to your hotel room. This can help wake you up and reduce symptoms of jet lag.
- Try to stay awake until the local bedtime. Taking a quick power nap is ok as long as it is short. You don’t want to catch up on your sleep during the day- try to hold out until bedtime! Geting as much daylight as you can to help your body naturally adjust quicker to the time zone.
- Take Melatonin. It has not been proven to prevent jet lag and if you miscalculate, this tactic you can make your jet lag even worse.
- Do not take sleeping pills. This can be extremely dangerous and even fatal due to the prolonged immobility of the body during the flight. Sleeping pills can cause passengers fatal blood clots and worsen dehydration.