If you’ve travelled by plane for more than a few hours, you’re probably one of the more than 90% of all air travellers who have suffered the effects of jet lag. Business travellers find they underperform for the first day or two after travel. Vacationers complain they don’t feel up to enjoying the sights for at least a day while their bodies recover.
More seriously, aircrews suffer from jet lag. In a 1994 survey of New Zealand flight attendants who flew internationally, more than 95% reported they suffered the effects, even though they were used to long haul air travel.
What Is Jet Lag?
The host of symptoms commonly called jet lag are officially labelled Time Zone Change Syndrome or Desynchronosis. When a person travels quickly from east to west or vice versa, the result is an effect on the human body. This physiological condition upsets a person’s circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycle that the body operates on.
The impact of jet lag can show up in a myriad of symptoms, including:
- Drowsy and tired
- Irritable or depressed
- Slightly disoriented or confused
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble focusing
- Not hungry
- Unsettled feeling
- Diarrhoea or constipation
Help for Travellers
There are a number of ways of mitigating the effects of jet lag. Many of the symptoms go away once you get a good night’s rest. Here is a look at helpful sleep solutions.
Sleep mask with earplugs
These help you minimize distractions by blocking light and reducing noise levels. A contoured sleep mask fits your face closely and thus does the best job keeping out light. The less light the better because that is what tells your body it’s time to wake up.
A travel pillow lets you stay relaxed and get some sleep while sitting for long stretches in the airplane cabin. The more sleep you are able to get en route, the less effect jet lag has on your body. Travel neck pillows fit around your neck, conforming to your body to support your head and making you more comfortable in your seat.
Sound machines, as well as relaxation CDs with soothing music and white noise, are great ways to block out irritating noise that can keep you awake. They can be used on the plane to block out the noise of air travel.
Like having a personal sleep coach, the NightWave Sleep Assistant can help reduce mental fatigue and brain fog. It doesn’t use the spoken word, but instead uses a blue light that gently ebbs and flows.
Check into the sleep devices and solutions available to help you beat jet lag. When you are prepared, you can hit the ground running on your next business trip or vacation.