The Inertia Contributing Editor
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Airplane wing. Jet lag and travel.

Photo: Ross Parmly/Unsplash


The Inertia

Traveling is incredible. It’s a chance to see new sights, experience new cultures, and surf new waves. It’s the opportunity to create lasting experiences and acquire tales to tell your children. And while traveling comes with a long list of pros, one of the biggest challenges is the jet lag that comes along with it.

According to Dr. Neil Paulvin, a board-certified longevity and regenerative medicine doctor, “the body is regulated by its master clock– the circadian rhythm. It’s the natural cycle the body follows to sleep, metabolize, work, and produce energy. Jet lag occurs when the external environment disrupts your circadian rhythm. Jet lag worsens depending on the amount of time zones you cross. This mismatch produces feelings of drowsiness, mood changes, memory loss, fatigue, nausea, and poor performance.”

While many think that jet lag is simply the cost of travel, there are actually science-backed ways to help prevent it. Here are four of the best way to prevent jet lag, according to Dr. Neil Paulvin.

Adjust Your Sleep Schedule in Intervals

Preventing jet lag doesn’t start on the plane. If you are traveling across time zones, begin adjusting your sleep schedule two to three days before your flight. It’s best to slowly shift your sleep and wake up times in 20-30 minute intervals according to your destination. As soon as you wake up, try to get sunlight exposure and moderate exercise.

Manipulate Your Exposure to Light

If you are traveling to an earlier time zone, you should aim to have an earlier exposure to light the day of your flight. Conversely, if you are traveling to a later time zone you should delay your exposure to light by using sunglasses or blue blocking glasses.

Avoid Caffeine

Try to eat healthy the days leading up to your flight and the first couple of days of your trip. Avoid high sugar and high carb foods before and during the beginning of your trip. Secondly, allow your body to adjust to this new time without altering its new rhythm with caffeine. You should avoid caffeine between 2 P.M. to 4 P.M.

Fast in Long Flights

For flights over six hours, you should fast during the flight and eat in your new time zone after landing. You can stay hydrated with electrolytes during the flight and can bring light snacks such as nuts, seeds and granola. Some people like eating vegetables, while others may avoid them due to bloating.

 
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