Before, people thought that jet lag was because of poor scheduling, but in recent years, it has been considered as a medical condition. Many people wonder how to beat jet lag or at least make the tiredness less severe.
You might have wondered about the definition of jet lagged and may be asking why does traveling make you tired.
Jet lag is defined as when your usual sleeping pattern is disturbed. This is mostly because your body having a hard time adjusting to the new time zone.
This occurs when we travel across time zones and can cause major sleep disturbances. So if you’re gearing up for a trip to the other side of the country, or maybe even the other side of the world, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to leave jet lag behind and get the energy you need to enjoy your trip.
How to Beat Jet Lag: Try Different Relaxation Techniques
Just Relax. Easier said than done, right?
That’s not so easy to do especially when we find ourselves in unfamiliar environments. Luckily, there are several relaxation techniques we can take advantage of to ward off the racing thoughts and tight muscles that can keep up us awake at night.
There are many guided meditations for sleep as well as bedtime yoga routines available online. If that’s not really your thing, you can always go with the classic warm-bath-and-a-good-book technique.
Get Yourself Some Sun
Your circadian rhythm wants to sync up with the sunlight, so why not help it along? Make it easier by exposing yourself to sunlight during the day.
This will help your body ready itself for sleep at night. Take a long walk, or spend time by a window, if possible. Just be sure to wear sunblock when appropriate.
Have Some Chamomile Tea
Can’t sleep before a flight? Have yourself a cup of chamomile tea. Having a warm cup of chamomile tea is another gentle, natural way to help you ease into sleep mode.
Research suggests the tea contributes to a release of glycine—a naturally occurring chemical that acts like a mild sedative in the body.
Regulate Melatonin Level
What is melatonin? How does it help?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body and is directly related to the regulation of circadian rhythms, making it a logical first choice for treating jet lag. It is readily available at most grocery stores.
Always start with a small dose of melatonin a few hours before bed—too much can cause drowsiness the next day.
A yummy alternative to taking a supplement is to have some tart cherry juice before bed to give your melatonin levels a natural boost.
Take Valerian Root Extract
While there are some contradictions in research related to valerian root and sleep, many scientists believe the herb works in a similar but milder way than sedating drugs, such as Xanax and Valium, do—by increasing the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain, helping to calm nerve cells and anxiety.
Valerian root is available in capsule form, and although it has a very bitter flavor, some people brew tea with it.
Create an Ideal Sleep Environment
Getting to sleep in a new place can be tough, so try to tip the odds in your favor. Consider bringing comforting items along, such as your favorite pillow or blanket.
Adjust your room temperature so that it’s similar to what you’re used to.
If possible, manipulate the noise level—if unfamiliar sounds are making it hard to sleep, you might try streaming white noise or rainfall from a phone or laptop or popping in a set of earplugs to drown out the sound. Being able to get in a jet lag power nap will help you – a lot.
Some people wonder, “Is jet lag worse going east or west?” Here’s a fun fact. Have you noticed that it’s easier to beat jet lag when you’re traveling west? It’s because it’s easier for our body to delay our internal clock.
Also, jet lag doesn’t happen on north-south flights.
Now that you know the basics and the tips on how to beat jet lag, you’ll be able to easily adjust even if you travel a lot. Just remember that while supplements and herbs may be gentler than prescription medications, they often come with their own set of side effects and drug interactions.
Always check with your doctor before adding them to your self-care regimen.
Source: [Reader’s Digest, Sleep Foundation, University of Maryland Medical Center, University of Maryland Medical Center, University of Maryland Medical Center, Travel Squire]