1. What is jet lag and is it a common problem?
Jet lag is a sleep disorder often encountered after long-haul flights from a departure city in one time zone to an arrival city in another time zone. Your body is out of its accustomed time period, causing disruption to your sleeping patterns. It takes time to get used to a new time zone.
2. Which types of flights produce jet lag?
In general, some form of jet lag occurs after all long-haul flights, but daytime flights from west to east seem to have the greatest impact. For example, if you fly from New York to Paris on a Wednesday, departing at 4.00 pm, you’ll arrive in Paris around 7:00 am on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, your body thinks it’s 01.00 am. Whether or not you managed to sleep on the plane, your body will be on New York time, and ready to go to bed.
3. What can you do before the flight to prevent or alleviate jet lag?
First, try to be both physically and mentally ready for travel. We recommend that you get a good sleep before your flight. Avoid potential stress by preparing for your trip ahead of time, and not leaving crucial details to the last minute. Pay attention to your diet; you can strengthen your body’s resistance with good nutrition. If possible, set your watch or phone clock to your destination’s local time the day before your trip.
4. What can you do during the flight to prevent or alleviate jet lag?
Try to stay awake during your flight to minimize the effect of jet lag. Drink plenty of water, both to avoid falling asleep and also to stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages. It may also be beneficial to eat foods that have protein, such as meat, milk and cheese. In addition, vitamin C, in fruit or in a tablet, is good for you.
5. What can you do after the flight to prevent or alleviate jet lag?
It is important to adapt to the local time at your destination as soon as possible. If you arrive during the day, try to stay awake – absorb as much of the day (and daylight) as you can. If you arrive at night, try to sleep – even if you don’t feel sleepy. Avoid the use of sleeping pills; try herbal teas or natural sleep aids such as melatonin.
6. What can you do when you get home to alleviate jet lag?
Jet lag is not a one-way street: you’ll probably experience it on your way home as well – and perhaps to an even greater extent. Try to stay awake on the return flight to minimize jet lag. When you get home, try to adjust to the local time as soon as possible, using similar methods: get into bed at the normal time, even if you’re not sleepy; avoid caffeinated drinks, and so on.
7. What are the symptoms of jet lag?
Jet lag manifests in feelings of sleepiness and fatigue. It can also cause restlessness and confusion, but the primary symptom is the disruption of sleep patterns. Drowsiness and insomnia can occur simultaneously.
8. How long does jet lag last?
Fortunately, jet lag is only temporary. In general, the symptoms of jet lag will dissipate between three and five days.
9. How do I treat jet lag?
Jet lag is a temporary condition and does not require any treatment. You can help restore your natural rhythms by resuming normal activities during the day and sleeping at night. As well, light exercise and a healthy diet are extremely effective against jet lag.