Jet lag is a physiological condition that happens when alterations to the body’s internal clock occur, often because of long distance travel on high-speed aircraft (for example, traveling by plane from the United States to Europe). One’s body begins to experience daylight and darkness contrary to the circadian rhythms to which it has grown accustomed, and since the body cannot immediately realign these rhythms that dictate times for eating and sleeping, among other things, it becomes jet lagged.
Fortunately, there are steps one can take to combat jet lag, such as:
• Staying hydrated – It’s easy to get dehydrated while flying, which can exacerbate jet lag symptoms, so one should aim to drink lots of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible.
• Adjusting to local time immediately – Let’s say that a traveler arrives in Paris at 8 a.m. local time, but their body’s internal clock says it’s 2 a.m. After a long flight, a traveler probably just wants to sleep, but it’s important to fight that urge and begin adjusting to the local time as soon as possible. Instead of sleeping, the traveler should stay up and spend the day exploring Paris. (And, why sleep when there’s a beautiful city to discover?)
• Opting for an overnight flight – This way, one can sleep during the flight and, depending on the flight length and how many time zones that are crossed, one will arrive at the destination in the morning or afternoon, making it easier to reset the body’s internal clock.
It can be difficult to recover from jet lag, but by following the tips above before and during the trip, travelers can hopefully alleviate the pain of jet lag symptoms.
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