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The best remedies for jet lag are easy to implement. Some can be done before the flight, some can take place during the flight and others can be implemented once the destination has been reached. The biggest factors during long-haul flights are dehydration and sleep deprivation, so any behaviors that limit these problems will be beneficial.
Jet lag is caused by the disruption of the body's circadian rhythms, or internal clock. Flying east or west desynchronizes the body clock to the extent that the body no longer knows when it is time to sleep and when it is time to wake up. When time zones are crossed faster than the body can adjust, jet lag symptoms such as headaches, disorientation, dehydration, indigestion and exhaustion can result.
The body adjusts to changes in time zones at a rate of about one hour per day, so if several zones have been crossed, it can take several days for the body to resynchronize. The younger, healthier and more fit a passenger is, the easier it will be for him to deal with jet lag. A few days before leaving on the trip is the best time to begin preparations. Getting plenty of sleep, reducing stress, exercising regularly and adjusting one's diet can go a long way toward priming the body to deal with the effects of long-haul travel. During the flight, drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol and sodas is essential. Alcohol slows down the ability of the body to adjust to the changes in the body clock, so it is best to abstain completely. Many of the symptoms of jet lag may be due to dehydration.
Getting plenty of sleep during the flight is also important. Investing in a travel pillow, particularly one that gives neck support, and an eye mask will make getting quality sleep easier. Headphones or ear plugs will block out some of the noise created by other passengers and crew. If possible, it is a good idea to begin thinking in the new time zone and trying to sleep when it is time to sleep at the destination. Upon arrival, one of the best remedies for jet lag is to follow the rhythm of life as much as possible right from the beginning. Exercise helps the body readjust after a long flight, and exposure to sunlight helps the circadian rhythms resynchronize.
I think sleep is the main remedy for jet lag. You just have to give your body time to catch up to the new time zone.
I know it can be really bad for people who are coming back to the US from a trip to the far East. I have a co-worker friend from India and when she got back from a two-week visit home, she was wiped out for about three days. Long flight and a 15 hour time difference. I don't know if I would have recovered in just three days. Jet lag can be really brutal.
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