Traveling is an exciting time. Visiting new places, experiencing new adventures and learning about new cultures are just some of the many reasons people enjoy getting on a plane and escaping their lives for a short time.
Unfortunately, the further you go, the more likely you are to suffer from jetlag. This can sometimes ruin an otherwise great trip—and your return back home.
But if you plan accordingly and take a few preventative steps before and after you reach your destination, recovering from jetlag does not have to be long and unsettling.
If you travel and end up in a location with a different time zone than the one you regularly live in, your body’s natural circadian rhythm gets thrown off track. You may be tired at 10:00 your time, but if it is only 3:00 in the afternoon where you are, your body does not automatically shift gears to recognize the time change.
Jetlag can cause many unpleasant symptoms including sleep disruption, digestive problems, irritability, and disorientation.
Luckily, there are ways to help you recover from jetlag or, at the least, lessen the symptoms. Here are some tips on recovering from jetlag:
1. Make Adjustments to Your Sleeping and Waking Time.
If you know your destination is going to be a few hours ahead (or behind) from your current time zone, prepare your body for the change by going to bed and waking up one hour earlier (or later) for three days.
This will make the adjustment a lot less stressful on your body. If doing this does not jive with your schedule, try doing it a day before you leave by going to bed and waking up at the time that you will be doing so at your destination.
2. Modify Your Diet
For some people, traveling can wreak havoc on their appetite and how their body reacts to air travel. Be sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol a day or two before you are traveling and drink plenty of water—even during your flight. Try to eat light meals the day leading up to your day of travel.
There is actually an “Anti-jetlag diet” that was developed for those who need relief from jetlag. The three-day diet entails alternating days of eating certain types of food in specified quantities at specific times with days of eating smaller, lighter meals.
It pinpoints which foods to eat and how they affect your body’s ability to adapt to a changing time zone in order to minimize jetlag symptoms.
3. Try a Natural Sleep Aid
If changing your diet and sleep schedule is not likely to happen, you can use Valerian—an herb that is also a sleep aid. Valerian can help you adjust to a new time zone by helping you fall asleep at the correct time based on where you are.
Many people prefer Valerian because it is not only a natural supplement, but it is not addictive or causes any grogginess when you wake up in the morning.
4. Use a Natural Hormone
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally secreted by the brain’s pineal gland. One of its most important roles is to control your circadian rhythm. Melatonin is released based on light—when there is adequate light outside, there is very little melatonin being released.
When it is dark outside, your brain then stimulates melatonin to be released. So naturally when you are in a different time zone and when your brain gets the light/dark signal, the cycle of melatonin release will be at different times than what your body is used to.
A melatonin supplement (0.5 mg is recommended) can help the body adjust quickly to the time change. However, it should be taken once you reach your destination and not prior to it as it can actually hinder jetlag recovery.
5. Go Homeopathic
Homeopathy has become very popular in helping people overcome just about anything—including jetlag. These remedies are all from natural substances and are believed to be safe to use even though they are in greater quantities than how you would naturally find them.
They are considered non-toxic because they are diluted so much so that they are not detectable in any way. No Jet Lag is the most popular of the homeopathic remedies for jetlag and contains such substances as arnica Montana, Chamomilla, Lycopodium, Ipecacuanha and Bellis Perennis.
However, all homeopathic remedies are prepared with precision and specifics as to what they are intended for so always take the recommended dosage and make sure that what you are using is a true homeopathic remedy and not a clone of one.
You no longer have to worry about jetlag ruining your vacation or a business trip. In many cases, it can take up to a few days before you completely recover from jetlag.
If your current schedule and lifestyle allow it, try using some of the modifications to your day to prepare your body for the upcoming change. But if sleeping, waking and eating at different times is not conducive to your situation, there are natural and safe supplements that can do the trick as well.