By: Lauri Leadley, CCSH, RPSGT- Clinical Sleep Educator|Sleep Coach
Anyone who regularly travels across time zones has experienced jet lag.
Moving between different time-zones can disrupt your internal clock or your circadian rhythms which in turn impacts your sleep-wake cycle and other biological functions such as bowel movements and hunger.
Jet lag is a temporary condition – once the body readjusts to the new time-zone the impact of jet lag should reduce.
However, if you find yourself constantly struggling with daytime fatigue, battling mood swings, or if you suffer from sleep disruptions and find it difficult to maintain your productivity and concentration levels, then it is best to consult with a professional sleep coach.
Related Article – Ask a Sleep Coach
If you continue to ignore the problem, your symptoms could get worse over time and lead to a number of mental, physical, and sleep-related issues.
Common Symptoms of Jet Lag
- Sleep disruptions – insomnia, daytime fatigue.
- Mood swings – irritability, mild depression.
- Drop in productivity and concentration levels.
- Loss of appetite.
- Gastrointestinal disturbances.
- General feeling of being unwell and dizziness.
- Menstrual symptoms in women.
These symptoms tend to be more severe when you move through multiple time-zones and when you are flying east.
Jet lag can further worsen due to five factors which include the following:
- Caffeine and alcohol.
- Sleep loss due to change in your internal body clock.
- Air pressure or poor quality of air.
- Being seated in an uncomfortable position for long hours.
If you travel through multiple time-zones on a regular basis and find yourself struggling to sleep well or if you suffer from a sleeping disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea, it might be a good idea to consult with a professional sleep coach.
Your sleep coach can help you overcome specific sleep challenges and advise you on preventive steps to overcome jet lag faster or to minimize the effects of jet lag on your mind and body.
How can you reduce the effects of jet lag?
The best way to minimize the effects of jet lag is by incorporating certain lifestyle changes.
There are two things you need to be mindful about:
First: Exercise regularly to maintain your physical fitness – it can help minimize the effects of jet lag.
Second: If you suffer from a health condition such as diabetes or hypertension, speak with your physician about medication or any other health advice/tests that you might need to take before making a long trip.
10 Steps to Beat Jet Lag
- Select flights with an early evening local time arrival – this way you can go to bed early.
- If you going to travel eastward and need to cover multiple time-zones, go to bed and wake up early for a few days before your traveling date – if you are traveling westward, push back your sleep and waking up time, again for a few days prior to your flying date.
- Adjust your watch to the time zone of your destination when you board the flight.
- Try and move around instead of remaining seated for the entire duration of the flight.
- Use an eye mask and earplugs when napping – you could try sleeping according to the sleep time of your destination.
- Another exercise you could try is to snooze for 20 minutes at a time to minimize sleepiness.
- Keep yourself hydrated and avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine.
- Once you arrive at your destination, try and go to bed at the local sleep time.
- If possible, avoid eating heavy meals.
- Spend some time outside – if you can do this during the day time even better.
Each of these steps can help your body adjust to the new time-zone faster thereby reducing the effects of jet lag.
If, however, you find that none of the above-mentioned suggestions are working for you and you continue to struggle with the symptoms of jet lag, in particular with sleep disruption, or suspect you could be suffering from a sleep disorder, please visit a professional sleep coach as soon as possible.
Valley Sleep Center – We Can Help You Sleep Better!
Are you a regular flyer? Do you cover multiple time-zones on a regular basis? Are you suffering from any one or all of the above symptoms of jet lag? Is your sleep pattern disturbed? If you’ve answered with a yes to all four questions, we can help. Contact us at Valley Sleep Center.
To consult with professional sleep coach Lauri Leadley, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.