You may land at your far away destination in a startlingly different mood than when you left home, feeling ill or out of sorts, tired, ready to go to bed, but unable to sleep. You may experience uncharacteristic irritability and mental processes, brain fog, and difficulty with orientation. You may feel the varied sensations of dehydration such as muscle aches, confusion, and heavy headedness. Your appetite may be poor, you may even feel nauseous, and you may have headaches, often with sinus involvement. The sensations may be hard to pin down and explain, even if people are telling you to snap out of it and get with the program. There is actually a physical reason for your discomfort and you can minimize or eliminate it with proper precautions.
<strong>What Causes Jet Lag?</strong>
The popular perception is that jet lag is only lack of proper sleep, but it’s not that simple.
When you jump time zones, it disrupts more than 100 essential body functions, including hormone, heart rate, and temperature regulation. For example, if you fly west across six time zones, it can take up to six days for your reaction time to return to normal, according to Dr. Robert M. Giller, author of Natural Prescriptions. Traveling east makes jet lag even worse, although experts don’t understand why. Each person handles the disruption differently, but passing through many time zones disrupts the internal clock we all have that tells us when to sleep and eat. The unfamiliar light/dark cycle disrupts the circadian rhythms, especially under certain conditions that you often cannot control. Being in a plane is dehydrating, especially if you drink alcohol and are stressed.
Jet lag prevention should start before your trip. Drink several glasses of water. Nothing else is processed like water, so although you may gain some additional benefit from drinking juices or decaffeinated tea, pure water is most advantageous by far, and is best drunk when you are not eating a meal.<ul> <li>Go to bed at a regular time for a few days before your trip. Then, two days before you leave, go to bed 15 to 30 minutes before your actual bedtime to give your body the extra rest it needs.</li> <li>About five to ten minutes before you board the plane, take one ginger tablet and a 6C dose of homeopathic Cocculus.</li> <li>Drink until you urinate on the flight, then drink a glass of pure water every 30 minutes, preferably water without ice (cold drinks pull blood from your extremities so as to warm the icy drink in your stomach; Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believe that icy drinks cause you to age faster).</li> <li>Avoid drinking alcohol, carbonated beverages, or coffee before or during long flights, as these will only make jet lag worse.</li> <li>For a natural remedy, the best treatment for jet lag is to take a maximum of 1 mg of melatonin as a sub lingual tablet before bedtime. Melatonin naturally controls your body’s circadian rhythm. When you awaken, you’ll be in your new time zone.</li> <li>Valerian root and ginseng can also help you acclimate quickly to your new environment.</li></ul>