Starting your holiday with jet lag is a real downer.
Anyone who travels across multiple time zones can experience jet lag. But why do you get jet lag? And what can you do about it and perhaps even avoid it in the first place?
Learn more about jet lag and get 6 tips on how to avoid it on your tour to Latin America.
Your body clock is set to the time zone you live in daily. It tells you when you should be awake and when you should be sleeping in your bed.
When you travel into other time zones, as you do on a tour to Latin America, your body can become confused and have difficulty adjusting to the new time zone. The discomfort you experience is called jet lag.
Some people find it harder to adjust to new time zones than others. It is said to be easier for the body clock to fly west than east, because you follow the sun and extend the day.
It’s hard to predict whether you can avoid jet lag completely. But by following a few tips, you can minimise the feeling of jet lag and get more out of your holiday as a result.
Bear in mind that you can get jet lag on both outbound and return journeys, so the following 6 tips can also be used for your journey home (just the other way round) – especially if you need to get back to everyday life quickly.
As far as possible, try adjusting your circadian rhythm to your travel destination a few days before you leave. So, when travelling west, go to bed later and get up later than you normally do.
Also, set your watch to the local time as soon as you get on the plane. This makes it easier to adjust to the local circadian rhythm and get used to the new time. If it’s night where you’re headed, you should try to sleep, and if it’s day, you should stay awake.
Meals also help regulate your body clock. So, it’s a good idea to plan your meals according to your travel destination a few days before you leave.
When you land, you should continue to follow the new circadian rhythm, both when it comes to sleeping and eating.
You probably know the feeling. After a fun night out with a little too much alcohol, there’s a real risk of getting a hangover. And a large part of this is due to dehydration and the lack of sleep.
Dehydration can also cause jet lag symptoms, so it’s important to drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol, which can mess up your sleep pattern and thus make it harder for you to adapt to the new circadian rhythm.
Exercise can help make you tired, and it can be a good idea when you’re flying off somewhere. This is especially the case if it’s night at your destination while you’re flying.
If your body is tired, it will be easier to sleep.
The blue light emitted by your mobile phone makes it harder for your body to fall asleep.
So, if you need to sleep on the flight, try switching off your phone, tablet and other electronic displays one hour before you want to sleep.
If you really can’t stay awake when you need to – this applies both on the plane and when you arrive at your destination – it might be a good idea to take a short nap of between 30 minutes and 2 hours (maximum).
But remember to set your alarm! If you fall into a deep sleep in the middle of the day, it may be more difficult to recover from jet lag.
Have a great trip!
Llamatours.co.uk – the Latin American Experience