Planning a road trip? Booking a flight? Returning home by bus or train? Feeling exhausted, foggy-headed, in a daze? If you are planning a long distance trip for the summer or for an upcoming holiday vacation, you might want to consider these tips to prevent or reduce jet lag. Can jet lag be treated naturally? Can it occur on bus, train or in the car? Ideas include a special jet lag diet, homeopathic remedies, and lifestyle changes and exercise. Find out more.
What is Jet Lag?
Summer is here and seniors, adults, teens, and children are taking vacations. Whether you are planning a short trip, driving by bus, train, or flying by airplane, inside or outside of the country, vacationing can be exhausting on the mental physical and emotional body. A change of routine, change of diet, and change in sleeping pattern can be very stressful. If one is traveling across time zones, he or she may experience jet lag. What are the symptoms of jet lag and how can you prevent it?
“Jet lag” is a physiological condition as a result from a change in the circadian rhythm or internal clock. It can be caused by a change in day length, work schedule, or traveling across time meridians. It is known as esynchronosis, dysrhythmia, dyschrony, jet syndrome, or most frequently referred to as “jet lag.” The most common symptoms of Jet Lag include:
- memory loss
Most Popular Treatments of Jet Lag
There are many suggestions for prevention and treatment of jet lag. The most common treatments or preventative measures include:
- take melatonin – there is some controversy regarding the use of melatonin, if not properly administered, it could make jet lag worse.
- taking sleeping pills – this is not advised as prolonged immobility, such as experienced on train, bus, or plane travel, is compounded with sleeping pills; it is important to take stretch breaks, when traveling for long hours
- limit or eliminate caffeine drinks or coffee – caffeine is not helpful in treating jet lag; although it might be tempting to digest extra sugar and caffeine, this will add more stress to an already stressed physical body
- hydrate yourself – this is important as most travelers are not only combating sleep deprivation but also dehydration, so be sure to stop and hydrate with plenty of water
- eating during the time appropriate for your current time zone – changing the time you eat to align with the current time zone, for example not eating at 2:00 a.m., even though you are hungry)
- take a shower – shower can help to reduce stress, rejuvenate, refresh and energize the body; some airports have showers
- gradually adjusting to time changes several days before – this can be effective if you are able to manage this prior to traveling
- getting fresh air and sunlight – the lack of natural light can be wearing on the body; try to get outside to breathe fresh air and get natural light in between flights.
- taking overnight flights, train rides or bus trips – traveling during the night, while sleeping to allow opportunities for stretching, walking or exercising during the day can be helpful in combating jet lag
- using earplugs and blindfolds – this may help to eliminate visual and auditory stimulation and induce sleep and relaxation
- reducing or eliminating alcohol – alcohol is to be avoided when one is battling jet lag
What is the Anti-Jet-Lag Diet?
The United States Department of Energy found a special diet, “The Anti-Jet-Lag Diet” to be effective when tested on National Guard personnel who were deployed across nine time zones. Dr. Charles F. Ehret, an Argonne biologist, developed this anti-jet-lag diet, which claims to reduce or prevent the effects of jet lag. Other branches of the military also used this diet with successful results. However, scientific data to support the effectiveness of this diet is limited. The diet involves alternating “feast days” (which are days in which you eat double helpings) with “fast” days. You are instructed to eat high-protein breakfasts and lunches, and high-carbohydrate dinners. No caffeine is allowed before 3 p.m. and no alcohol. Some swear by the effectiveness of this diet, however, in the scientific community, it is not considered to be proven by valid research studies.
Homeopathic Remedies and Jet Lag
Another effective approach to jet lag is a homeopathic remedy containing combinations of Arnica montana (leopard’s bane) Bellis perenni (daisy), Chamomilla (wild chamomile), ipecacuanha (ipecac), and Lycopodium (clubmoss). Fifty-five flight attendants who were traveling from New Zealand to the United States, Asia and Europe were given this remedy. According to the manufacturer of No Jet-Lag, 75% of these passengers reported that the product reduced their symptoms of jet lag. You can find out more about it at www.nojetlag.com or speak with your homeopathic or naturopathic doctor.
Exercise as an Effective Treatment to Jet Lag
Exercise has long been known to be helpful in reducing the symptoms of jet lag. A number of studies have been published testing the significance of exercise on reducing jet lag, including a study from Harvard Medical School in Boston. It is suggested that you exercise 45 minutes in the mornings at your destination. Plan on packing exercise equipment that is easy to carry such as rubber exercise bands or tubing. Doing your exercises outdoors can be very helpful because exposure to the sunlight helps you reset your body clock. For more information about natural methods of healing, visit www.montereybayholistic.com
Choy, M; Salbu, R., “Jet Lag: Current and Potential Therapies,” Pharmacy and Therapeutics
Miller, S.G., “The Science of Jet Lag: 5 Surprising Findings,” Live Science
National Sleep Foundation, “Jet Lag and Sleep”
Science Daily, “Jet Lag”
Jean Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University, is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder, and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, a 501(c)3 health education nonprofit organization. All photos used in this article are by www.pixabay.com unless otherwise noted. To find out more about our Health Educators, or to apply as a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance writer or volunteer, visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com
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