Jet Lag or travelers disease
It is understood as the discomfort or unpleasant sensation that the body suffers when it must adapt to a new time zone. The intensity will depend on how many time zones you have crossed during the trip. Normal symptoms of this schedule mismatch can be headache, disorientation, fatigue, trouble concentrating, stomach problems, feeling of general discomfort, body discomfort, mood changes, memory loss, insomnia, drowsiness. The further you go, the symptoms will be worse. It is said that for each different hour of the place you are in compared to the place we were before, it will take us a day to get used to and feel comfortable and without symptoms due to the time change.
We must consider that the older we are, the more it will cost us to get used to the new schedule. And some people get used to faster too.
Why does Jet Lag occur?
For example, if you leave Santiago at 10:00 p.m. Tuesday on a 13-hour flight to Sydney and arrive in Australia at 1:00 a.m. on Thursday, your internal clock still believes it to be 11:00 a.m. Wednesday. This means that although it is bedtime in local time, you feel that it is 11 a.m. in the morning.
This difference between what we feel compared to the actual time of our destination, are completely misaligned, generating many discomforts in our body.
There are some who say that the height of the plane and the pressure changes in them generate some of the effects of jet lag, even when we do not have time differences with our destination.
Among the tips that we can give to overcome this condition more quickly, are:
- Adjust your meals and bedtime to the times of the place where you have arrived. Sometimes it can be very tempting to take a nap and eat late, but this makes the adjustment process longer.
- Going for a walk, doing some sports or any activity that allows us to stay active if tiredness comes. There are studies that support the idea of doing sports in the morning when you arrive to your destination since it accelerates the process of adjusting the body.
- Sun exposure is also a great help, as being exposed to the sun makes it easier for our biological clock to adapt to the natural cycles of the day.
- Eat light. One of the factors that help in reducing the mismatch in the biological clock is eating healthy, light. This is because the body, as it is not consuming as much energy when digesting, it can instead be used to balance itself. If you do this, you will realize that the adjustment time will be much less.
- Stay hydrated. Something that also helps a lot in this process is drinking plenty of water and avoiding consuming coffee or alcohol as it can accentuate the effects of the Jet Lag.
- Sleep on the plane. While it may seem like an impossible feat, we recommend taking with you some earplugs, goggles, some blanket to cover yourself and a pillow, as you will see that the experience changes completely, and it becomes much easier to achieve. Sleeping on the plane will help in the process of getting used to the new schedule.
As you could see, the jetlag issue is something that leaves no one indifferent. Some may find it less difficult to adjust, others maybe more, but in the end, it affects all of us.
Therefore, in case you travel to a place several hours apart and you want to study or work, it is advisable to arrive a few days earlier if possible so that you can get used to it and you won’t feel the discomfort of not having slept enough. Another recommendation is that you rest well before departing to your destination, so you can start changing your internal time before the trip.
We also recommend not driving as the chances of accidents increase, due to the drowsiness generated by Jet Lag.