Jet lag (jet lag) is called jet lag syndrome. Almost all travelers encounter it to one degree or another. When we travel by plane, then, having arrived in a country whose time zone is significantly different from our “native”, we find ourselves in a state of desynchronization. For example, we are overcome by sleep and fatigue, because it is deep night at home, but here, in another country, it is early morning or late afternoon. When, in a foreign land, we go down the ladder at night, we are cheerful, full of strength and want to do something. It’s just dark, everything is closed and nothing works.
Fortunately, there is no need to waste the first day of vacation for adaptation and acclimatization. It is enough to properly prepare for the flight to the “distant” time zone, and the addiction will pass much faster and smoother. No, we will not advise you the workers ‘and peasants’ method in the form of an early abundant libation in order to fall and fall asleep. This is just the first way to completely lose the first day, or even two, a completely unconstructive approach. No, instead, we want to offer you other intensive adaptation measures that do not harm the body and do not steal precious vacation time.
Preparation and planning
You need to start preparing for adaptation even before the flight. It is best if your flight takes place in the afternoon or late at night. The reason is simple: you will be able to dine in a normal setting and have a good night’s sleep before arriving in a different time zone and climate. Depending on the duration of the flight and the number of time zones crossed, you will arrive at your destination in the morning or at lunchtime. This is the best time to synchronize your biorhythms and daily routine. Try to plan the first day as fully as possible so that you don’t have to solve all sorts of questions and problems on the spot in not the best physical condition. It is advisable to avoid any activity that could worsen your well-being at least 1-2 days before departure. By this we mean, first of all, hangovers, gastrointestinal disorders and colds. If your daily routine allows it, then try a few days before the flight to start gradually shifting your sleep time towards the time zone in which you will soon be flying. For example, each time you go to bed an hour earlier or later than the day before. If you are flying to the west, then wake up and go to bed later, if to the east – earlier. Finally, try to take breaks between meals for 12-16 hours (preferably 16) during these meals, so that your internal clock becomes less dependent on these events. Animal behavior studies show that if food is only available during sleep hours, the circadian rhythm shifts to provide food. So do not neglect the experience of biologists and try to starve more during the day. Of course, in addition to mixing sleep times. You can also recommend a diet specially formulated in the 1980s to help speed up adaptation to a different time zone. The diet is called the Argonne Anti-Jet-Lag Diet, and is named after the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory where it was developed. Military studies in 2002 confirmed the effectiveness of this diet. It consists of alternating “feasting days” (foods high in protein and carbohydrates) and “fasting days” (mainly broths, vegetable salads and toasts), as well as drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks only at certain times.
Stick to the rules
Once you arrive, try to start adhering to your local daily routine as soon as possible. What is meant by this:
• Do not go to bed immediately upon arrival (unless the time is right here).
• Eat the “right” food at the “right” time. That is, do not gorge on meat and greasy for breakfast just because your body thinks it is lunch time. Otherwise, drowsiness will fall on you. Also, avoid all kinds of snacks (nuts, chocolates, chips, etc.) at night, especially if you are traveling with children.
• Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks for the first time. Yes, we know that vacation is a time of relaxation and rest, but both of these groups of drinks seriously impair the quality of sleep.
• Do not rush on the first day to see as many attractions as possible, give yourself time to adjust. Do not overdo it in the morning and evening hours.
Ambient lighting is a good aid in adaptation. If you need to cheer up after waking up, then choose, if possible, a sunny place, or at least open the curtains wide open. Conversely, in the evening and at night, try to surround yourself with darkness, including using an eye mask. All this will help you synchronize your circadian rhythm with the surrounding reality. The Jet Lag Advisor website on the British Airways website can also help you with this . On it you can find out at which hours it is better to avoid bright lighting, and at which – vice versa. Don’t forget about earplugs, an extremely useful thing for those trying to fall asleep. We also recommend that you follow your usual rituals of getting ready and going to bed, this will help the brain to reduce activity and tune in to rest. If you have not had any such rituals since birth (for example, be sure to wear pajamas with a nightcap, or read three pages from Kafka in bed), then just lie down comfortably, close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
Return to the old routine
Everything ends someday, including the vacation. You have to return not only home, but also to your usual temporal rhythm. Try to plan your vacation in such a way that you don’t have to go to work the next day (or, God forbid, the same). No, the next day must be devoted to reverse adaptation, so that then immediately get down to business.
During this period, try to eat light, healthy foods, and also avoid alcohol and caffeine for now to get a good night’s sleep. Again, we recommend using the bedtime ritual, or, for Plan B, watching your own breathing.