More than 90% of travelers suffer from the consequences of jet lag after moving to another time zone. But how do tiredness, exhaustion and sleep disorders arise due to the time difference? You can find out here how you can prevent jetlag, reduce the negative effects at your destination and quickly overcome your jetlag.
Table of Contents
- Travel through time
- How does jet lag occur?
- Consequences of jet lag
- The best tips against jet lag
- Further support
Travel through time
Slowly, traveling is becoming safer again, and especially in the summertime, many people take planes to far away vacation spots. However, the fact that long-haul flights cross different time zones and that we have to get used to a new day-night rhythm at the point of arrival can put quite a strain on our bodies. More than 90% of long-haul travelers suffer from tiredness, exhaustion or digestive problems in the first few days or even weeks at their destination. But where does the so-called jet lag come from?
How does jet lag occur?
Jet lag occurs when we travel through different time zones within a few hours and find ourselves at the destination at a completely different time of day. Due to the time difference, the body's own circadian rhythm ("the inner clock") gets out of step and our sleep-wake rhythm no longer corresponds to the natural course of the day in our new environment. After the quick trip to another time zone, our body initially follows its usual rhythm and needs some time to adapt to the new circumstances. This has a particularly strong impact on our sleeping behavior and disrupts numerous other bodily functions such as hormone production or the regulation of important metabolic processes, body temperature and blood pressure. And that despite the fact that regeneration during sleep is extremely important for us, especially after the stress and strain of a long journey.
The consequences of jet lag
Our sleep is particularly affected by the sudden change in time zones, for example because the body produces sleep hormones even though it is now the middle of the day. You can find out how the hormone melatonin regulates sleep here. As a result of jet lag, we usually find it difficult to fall asleep in the evening or wake up particularly early in the morning and in turn suffer from pronounced tiredness, exhaustion or mood swings during the day. But headaches, dizziness or indigestion can also occur after arriving in a new time zone. How long the symptoms last varies from person to person and also depends on the number of time zones crossed. The greater the time difference at the holiday destination, the longer the body needs to adapt.
Rule of thumb: For every hour of time difference, you need about one day to adapt.
The flight direction is also important. When traveling west, the day lengthens, which is usually more bearable and easier for the body to process than traveling east, where the body clock has to adjust to a "shorter" daily rhythm.
The best tips against jet lag
Don't worry! With a few tips, you can prepare yourself optimally for your upcoming trip and support your body in quickly adapting to the new time at the holiday destination.
#1 Before departure
Adjust your sleep-wake rhythm early on
In order to reduce the time difference and make the adjustment easier for your body, you can start your day a few days before your trip - and gradually adjust your sleeping rhythm to the new time zone Before flying east, it is therefore advisable to go to bed a little earlier and get up accordingly earlier, whereas before a trip west you can stay up a little longer.
Note the length of your stay
For short stays in another time zone, it is best not to get your body used to the new time in the first place in order to avoid double jetlag . So keep your normal daily rhythm if you only spend a few days at the destination with a time difference, so that your body does not have to adjust again when you return.
#2 Traveling / On the Road
Avoid sleep breaks and naps
Despite being bored and tired on the plane, it's better to stay awake! Taking too many sleep breaks may reduce the need for sleep and reduce the natural fatigue that would help the body adjust to an earlier or later sleep time at the destination.
Note a healthy & light diet
Easily digestible, protein-rich meals can be easily processed on the go and at the destination at rather unusual "meal times" and also provide the body with important nutrients and energy without putting additional strain on him. Also, make sure you drink enough fluids and refrain from stimulating foods and luxury foods with alcohol, caffeine and nicotine immediately before, during and after your flight.
#3 After the journey / At the destination
Adapt quickly to the new time
Even if it is difficult, you should adapt to the new time completely, at least for longer stays, immediately after arriving at your destination and support the body in developing a new daily and sleeping routine. So try to hold out until the evening despite being tired or go to bed earlier than usual, depending on the time difference.
Staying active and moving
Exercise in daylight and in the fresh air gets the circulation going and not only helps against acute fatigue, but also has a positive effect on it falling asleep in the evening. Because daylight has a positive influence on hormone production and supports your body in the natural regulation of your sleep-wake cycle. You can learn more about this in this article.
Further support against jet lag
Melatonin - secret weapon against jet lag
As you probably already know, the sleep hormone melatonin is an important regulator of our sleep-wake cycle and is already an effective means of Known to support the falling asleep process. Scientific studies also show that our "internal clock" can adapt more quickly to a new time zone if we take additional melatonin. A dietary supplement with melatonin can therefore reduce the effects of jet lag when traveling through different time zones and help your body to adapt quickly to the new time. Here we have summarized for you how melatonin can be used as a dietary supplement.
For example, our smartsleep SLEEP SPRAY with melatonin, lemon balm and passion flower extract is ideal for on the go and takes effect quickly.Learn more
Caution! While melatonin, as the body's own hormone, has a natural effect, you should avoid chemical sleeping pills on long journeys, as they have an unnatural effect on sleep and the natural sleep rhythm additionally throw off track
Jet lag occurs when we travel through different time zones and our inner clock gets out of balance.
The consequences of jet lag range from tiredness, exhaustion and mood swings to headaches, dizziness or indigestion.
Before the trip: Gradually adjust your daily rhythm to the time at your destination before you start your trip.
On the go: avoid frequent sleep breaks and eat an easily digestible, healthy diet with sufficient fluid intake.
At a travel destination with a time difference: Follow the new time directly and spend a lot of time in the fresh air to support natural sleep.
With an additional intake of melatonin, the internal clock can adapt more quickly to a new time zone.
Greetings and see you soon!