Travelling is one of the best things we can invest our time and money in. New corners, new cultures, unexpected experiences, barriers and fears overcame… Everything adds up when we travel. Everything … or almost everything. We can think of very few negative things associated with traveling. Losing your suitcase, getting sick away from home or the dreaded jet lag.
Yes, that unexpected travel companion who sneaks into our things on our way back home and makes it a little harder to land in and get on with our daily routine. The most positive ones will say that it is a sign that you have travelled. Yeah, true. But, between us, how hard those nights awake or with intermittent awakenings are! At unuk we have suffered them many times and we know that many of you too. Therefore, and even at the risk that you have all already come back from your trips, this week we want to remember some tricks to make the first nights at home back from our travels more bearable — possibly lengthening the effect of the holidays.
What is jet lag?
Before going into the needy and greedy, four facts and basic information about what jet lag is and how it can affect us. When we talk about jet lag we talk about a decompensation after a transatlantic trip. This decompensation occurs between our internal clock and the actual schedule, making our body not work at the time it should or doing so but with difficulties. Not everyone experiences it, but its effects include a state of drowsiness and permanent fatigue, interrupted sleep, insomnia or even symptoms of illness such as headache, dizziness or lack of appetite.
Several studies indicate that it is much more problematic when travelling Eastward due to how our biological clock functions. But, as we have said before, not everyone is affected by jet lag and, if affected, not everyone feels it the same way. The results indicate that our body gains additional time to adjust if we travel Westward. So, depending on the destination, we will suffer more on the way out or on our way back.
The studies also indicate that one day per lagged hour is usually needed to recover. So, stay strong for all those who travel to Down Under. We know how hard it is to have a decompensation of 9-10 hours!
Tips to combat jet lag in 3, 2, 1 …
- Jet lag can be prevented before you even make the trip. A few days before, it is recommended to adapt our vital rhythm to the schedule that we will find ourselves in at our travel destination. It is about adjusting our daily schedule, both for meals and sleeping. If you travel east, advance your daily schedule. If, on the contrary, our destiny is towards the West, delay it a little.
- There are foods that help combat the effects of jet lag, so experts recommend eating high-protein foods at breakfast and at noon and leaving carbohydrates for dinner. In fact, the US government recommends that the last copious meal before traveling on the day of departure be the breakfast.
- Adjust the clock as soon as you get on the plane with the time that we will meet on arrival at our destination, whether it is travel destination or home. That means starting to adopt their schedule. Sleep and eat when they eat there.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty during the flight will help us arrive in better conditions after a long journey and will reduce the impact of the decompensation.
- No naps on arrival or, at least, not exceeding the hour of duration.
- Taking a walk is always a good routine after spending hours sitting inside a plane. Walk and remain active to avoid falling into the tentacles of jet lag. Being exposed to natural light helps our body to re-stablish its internal clock.
- Be patience — Okay, this is not an actual advice. But you need high doses of it for those sleepless nights. Patience and cheerful resignation. If you suffer jet lag it is because you have travelled and that, in the end, is a good thing. Of course, there are meds that help transit through jet lag much more subtlety. At unuk we like to use more natural approaches than go for chemical remedies, but melatonin is surely one of the most effective resources we can take to reconcile our clocks, the internal and the real.
Courage, brave traveller!