If you have been on an international trip, you will know that long journeys can often get taxing. They can suck out all of your initial excitement, take a toll on your health, and leave you cranky and temperamental. Most people identify this feeling of disorientation as ‘jet lag’, also known as time zone change syndrome or ‘desynchronosis’.
If you are travelling overseas for the first time and there’s a considerable time difference between where you are and your destination, chances are, you’ll experience this phenomenon, too. Here’s everything that you need to know about it.
What is jet lag?
Simply put, jet lag is not only the stress of travel, but also a biological happening which occurs when an external factor disrupts our internal clock and throws us off rhythm.
We have a clock inside of us that is attuned to our schedule and prepares us accordingly. Now, let’s assume you are travelling somewhere that is a few hours ahead of where you currently are. When you arrive there, you have lost those hours, owing to the time difference. So, your body gets confused and so does the internal clock. Your day has been shortened and you now have to adjust to a new timing.
This can lead to unpleasant symptoms like insomnia, daytime fatigue, excessive drowsiness, less sleep, poor concentration, difficulty in functioning, and sometimes indigestion. You might take a few days to come out of this strange hangover.
How to treat it?
You have to absolutely adjust yourself with the local timings, if you want to survive this ordeal. This means, if you arrive early in the day — sleep deprived — it is advisable to stay up until night time. You can hit the bed early if you’d like.
When you embark on your journey, change your watch timing to that of the destination time zone. This will give you a fair idea of the time difference and prepare you in advance.
Upon arrival, do not have any heavy meals. Your body is confused, so give it a chance to breathe and tune itself.
If you arrive when the sun is still up, you have a few hours before you call it a day. Step out, explore the place. Staying indoors may make your jet lag worse.
Foods to avoid
Know that when it comes to jet lag, your body will expect you to be merciful. As such, keep yourself hydrated. Avoid coffee and alcohol as these may dehydrate you and make it worse. Additionally, avoid junk and fatty foods, since they could make you feel bloated. Instead, stick to simple foods that are just about filling.