Planning a long-haul flight? Here’s how to outsmart jet lag

Long-haul flights can have a severe impact on our body’s circadian rhythms, resulting in debilitating jet lag – but there are strategies to minimize its effects.

Strategies for tackling jet lag: A good approach might involve adjusting your sleep schedule a few days prior to your flight and seeking exposure to natural light at your destination.
* Switching sleep patterns a few days before travelling can help your body adjust to a new time zone.
* Sitting in natural sunlight at your new location aids in synchronizing your circadian clock to the new schedule.

Onboard sleep aids: Several tricks and methods have been suggested to help induce a deep sleep during flights.
* Physiologist David Stevens suggests aligning your in-flight sleep times with your departure city’s night time, for a more natural sleep cycle.
* Some travellers mention using eye shades, ear plugs, and sleeping aids like wine or sedatives, though Stevens discourages the use of alcohol and prescription sedatives due to their disruptive effects on sleep and potential for dependency.

Upon arrival: Light management can significantly impact your body’s adjustment to a new schedule.
* Light plays a crucial role in our sleep cycle, with melatonin secretion commencing as daylight starts to dim at the end of the day.
* Spending time outside in natural daylight helps to ‘reset’ your internal clock.

Incorporating meals and exercise: Alongside sleep adjustment and light management, meals and exercise can also play a role in managing jet lag.
* Shifting meal times and exercise schedules to align with your new time zone can serve as circadian cues for your body.
* Short naps and walks can be beneficial in adjusting to the new time zone and clearing your head.

View original article on NPR

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