What is Jet Lag?
Traveling by plane is already more than practical. We come in and after a few hours we reach our destination. However, jet lag is often noticeable upon arrival, especially after long flights. Reason: On long flights we go through multiple time zones. Our biorhythm cannot adapt to the new time zone so quickly and is therefore temporarily out of balance. It’s worth noting, for example, in our internal clock: it sets our individual sleep-wake cycle and tells us whether we are tired or hungry. Our internal clock is controlled by daylight.
It also affects our melatonin levels, which also affects jet lag. If the level is high, we are tired. On the other hand, when it is low, we are energized. Like our internal clock, our melatonin levels need some time to adjust to the new environment.
This is how jet lag manifests itself
Jet lag is a temporary disorder and not a disease. This goes on until our body clock recovers – jetlag usually doesn’t last more than a few days. According to the AOK, you need about a day of adjustment time in the two time zones traveling east, while traveling west takes half a day.
signs of jet lag
- Sleep Problems: Those flying west have longer days. Hence sleep is delayed, resulting in problems sleeping at night. If you travel east, your day becomes shorter, and jet lag manifests in sleeping problems.
- lack of concentration
- circulatory problems like dizziness
how to prevent jet lag
But what helps against jet lag? Even before your trip, there are several things you can do to make the best adjustments to the new time zone. Before traveling east, you should slowly go to bed earlier. If you’re traveling west, it’s best to go to bed later than usual.
During your flight, you may already be getting used to the new time on board. If it’s at night, you should try to sleep too. Sleep masks or earplugs can improve sleeping on a plane.
Tips against jet lag
But what if jet lag sets in despite preparation? Or you didn’t take any action earlier and now your body clock is broken? First and foremost, you should give your body enough time to get used to the new rhythm.
When traveling west: Try not to go to bed too early. Even if you are tired, you should not lie down in the afternoon, but only in the evening. If you’re particularly tired, you can also take short power naps. To stay awake, get as much daylight as possible. It has a positive effect on your melatonin levels and keeps you awake. So take a walk in the fresh air. However, make sure you don’t sleep for more than 20 to 30 minutes. You should also drink enough water to ward off fatigue. Especially after a long flight, there is a lack of water in the body.
When traveling east: Even if you are not tired in the evening, you should not go to bed very late. A little meditation or an audio book will help you calm down and fall asleep more easily. Also make sure you are cool and dark enough. Earplugs or a sleep mask may help.