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Tips experienced travelers: how to overcome jetlag

The opportunity to transfer from one hemisphere to another in just a few hours is undoubtedly an amazing achievement of technical progress. However, this achievement gave rise to a phenomenon called the jet lag syndrome (jetlag), which previously was not familiar to travelers who traveled to distant lands by train or steamboat.

Changing time zones and acclimatization significantly affects the human condition. Photo: Depositphotos

Changing time zones and acclimatization significantly affects the human condition. Photo: Depositphotos

Air travel often becomes a test not only for the nervous system, but also for the whole organism: low atmospheric pressure and too dry air in the cabin, noise, vibration, forced immobility. Particularly significant overload the body is exposed during a long flight and the intersection of several time zones.

To the west, passengers fly in pursuit of today, to the east - towards the day to come. After landing, they either lengthen or shorten their day, meanwhile, the metabolic processes inside the body continue to go their usual way. The system of internal biological clocks of a person does not have time to reorganize so quickly and for some time functions the same way as if a person continued to live at home.

After a long flight, the daily rhythms of the body gradually begin to be rearranged to a new time. In this case, some rhythms are rebuilt faster, others are slower. Different speed of restructuring of individual physiological rhythms leads to the occurrence of jet lag, or desynchronosis, manifested by changes in human well-being. The value is not the time spent on the flight, but the difference between the time at the points of departure and arrival.

So the flight from west to east is worse than that from east to west. This is because it is easier for a biological clock to slow down than to speed it up. Flights in one time zone from north to south or from south to north do not cause disynchronosis. At the same time, sleep disorders are also possible, but they are mainly due to physical fatigue and do not require recovery and adaptation within a few days.

How does the jetlag manifest

With a sharp change in the time zone after a long flight, the rhythm of “sleep-wakefulness” is disturbed in the body, the work of the endocrine glands changes, the level of adrenal hormones (adrenaline and others) increases in the blood. The increased release of adrenaline into the blood leads to a feeling of anxiety. The body moves to a less economical way of energy supply: the splitting of fats increases, along with it increases the level of free radicals (especially aging factors), decreases the production of antibodies and, consequently, immunity, produces more insulin.

Thus, there is an "imbalance" of the coordinated work of almost all organs and systems. As a result, headache, weakness, fatigue, lethargy, apathy, drowsiness, sleep disturbance, unreasonable fear, irritability, loss of appetite, nausea, and gastrointestinal disorders can be observed.

The consequences of the failure of the biological clock are often exacerbations of chronic diseases.

Desinchonrosis is also manifested in a decrease in physical and mental performance, some problems with movement coordination, sometimes memory impairment, a decrease in the ability to concentrate, difficulty in making decisions. Such a condition can last from one to several days, and the consequences that a person does not subjectively feel, but which affect his health and behavior, can manifest themselves after a long time.

After the flight to the east, the greatest changes in state of health are usually observed in the first half of the day, after the flight to the west - in the second. In either case, this coincides with the night hours in the place of permanent residence.

Who is harder

Different people react differently to the time shift, some more easily, others more painfully, but everyone reacts: "larks" poorly adapt to flights to the west, while "owls" - to flights to the east.

Studies have shown that 20-30-year-old healthy people are most easily tolerated by flying stress and time shifting, especially if they have no bad habits. As a rule, the older the person, the weaker the adaptation mechanisms.

With other things being equal, for women adaptation is usually easier than for men, since by nature the female body is more flexible and adapts more quickly to changing conditions.

The most difficult is the adjustment in children and the elderly. The children's adaptation system is still too weak to be taken into account by parents seeking to take the kids on long journeys. Adaptation of children, as a rule, ends only after 5-7 days, and for some it lasts up to 2 weeks.

Significant time shifts, for example, during US-Russia flights, are accompanied by marked deterioration of health and dysfunction during the 30-60 day, even in a healthy organism.

Although outwardly a person feels rather well after a few days of getting used to the new time, this is given at the cost of excessive tension and the mobilization of internal reserves. When returning home to the usual conditions, "transfer" of the body's biological clock and recovery occurs somewhat faster.

How to quickly adapt to the new time zone

It is impossible for an organism to teach not to react at all to the change of time zones, but it is possible to help it to adapt to new conditions as quickly as possible.

Before flight:

1. When booking plane tickets, please note that in order to minimize the manifestations of a jet lag, it is better to fly from east to west on a morning or afternoon flight, and from west to east on an evening flight. Houston residents are lucky in this regard. Direct flight Houston-Moscow, Moscow-Houston flies just this time.

2. If it is possible, for 3-5 days before departure, try to gradually rebuild your mode in accordance with the time zone of the place where you are going to fly. However, it is advisable to do this only when the time difference does not exceed 3 hours. To do this, every day, gradually shift your “sleep-wakefulness” rhythm so that, in general, the difference with your previous regime is 2-3 hours, but no more. If you have to fly to the west, try to go to bed and get up later (getting up at 9-10 hours, late dinner, going to bed no earlier than midnight). When traveling eastward you need to fall asleep earlier, and wake up early in the morning.

3. Your body will more easily take an air trip if you take herbal tea with chamomile, mint and / or sage 2 once a day. In the evening, if you find it difficult to fall asleep, drink a tincture of motherwort or valerian.

4. Carefully choose travel clothes and shoes. Clothes and shoes should be comfortable. Contact lenses are better to replace with glasses, because of the increased dryness of the air in the cabin of the aircraft, the cornea will not have enough moisture.

5. By changing the meal time, its abundance and calorie content, you can prepare your body for a new daily routine. Two days before the flight you should eat only light food, exclude alcoholic beverages. During this period, it is especially useful to eat foods rich in vitamin C and E (sweet peppers, kiwi, citrus fruits, avocados, almonds, pecans). On the day, it is necessary to drink a whole liter of water 2, distributing it evenly.

On the day of the flight

1. It is better to refuse strong tea, coffee and other tonic drinks. It is very important. They not only contribute to motion sickness, but also provoke insomnia.

2. Adaptation to a new time zone facilitates the diet, which includes low-calorie and easily digestible protein foods: fish, scrambled eggs, yogurt, tomato juice and bananas are also very useful.

3. In order not to provoke an attack of seasickness, from cereals and muesli, rich in fiber, it is better to completely give up.

During the flight

1. Adapting to the new conditions will be much easier if you immediately change the clock on the plane by setting the time of your destination.

2. It is recommended to sleep during the flight to the east. Food that is rich in carbohydrates (fruits, potatoes, rice, pasta) will help to sleep. Sleeping pills should not be taken, because drugs that cause sleep, thicken the blood, which can be dangerous in flight, when a person almost does not move. In addition, a sleeping pill not only does not restore biorhythms, but even more disorients the body. When you fly to the west in an airplane it is better not to sleep. Due to this, when you land, the manifestations of jetlag will be minimal. Foods rich in protein (cheese, fish, eggs, etc.) will help fight sleepiness.

3. Drink more during the flight, since it is more difficult for a dehydrated body to cope with desynchronosis. At the same time, give up tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages, preferring juice and mineral water without gas.

4. In the period of wakefulness try to use any opportunity for easy warm-up and self-massage. Raise and lower shoulders, rotate hands and forearms, rotate your feet, roll your feet from heel to toe, strain and relax the muscles of the thighs and buttocks. If you feel dizzy and weak, gently knead the earlobes with your thumb and forefinger for 40 seconds.

5. During a long flight, it is recommended to use foot gel that helps reduce puffiness and thrombosis or compression knitwear.

It is harder for children and the elderly to change their time zones. Photo: Depositphotos

It is harder for children and the elderly to change their time zones. Photo: Depositphotos

After arrival

1. When you arrive at your destination, no matter how much you want to sleep, in no case go to bed before dark. Fight sleep in any way, even if you haven't slept in flight. Experienced travelers say that if you go to bed during the day, then it will be much more difficult to adapt.

2. To cheer up and activate blood circulation, take a cool shower.

3. Vitamin with magnesium helps to overcome the stress caused by jetlag and to reduce the risk of developing diseases caused by it. If you flew to the east, they should be taken in the morning, and after lunch it is recommended to take means that have a sedative effect. If you flew to the west, sedatives should be taken in the first half of the day, funds with stimulating and tonic action - in the afternoon.

4. The unpleasant effects of a sharp change of time zones weaken the essential oils of grapefruit, lavender, rosewood and chamomile. To do this, you can put a drop of any of them into the 1-2 aromamedallion or moisten a handkerchief with it and periodically inhale the fragrance.

5. If you flew to the east, scientists recommend making early morning walks from the very first day: this will help the body to reorganize into the early hours of activity. After arriving to the west, walks must be made at the end of the day before sunset: this will help to rebuild the body's internal clock for a later bedtime.

6. To improve the well-being of the body, you need to drink more simple drinking water. It is best to drink a few sips of cool water or juice every hour or half an hour. The consumption of excessive amounts of coffee, carbonated beverages and alcohol exacerbates the manifestation of jet lag.

7. Food - a powerful synchronizer. At lunchtime, sit down at the table, even if you are not hungry. In the morning and afternoon, eat more protein-rich foods, and for dinner - carbohydrate foods: eaten without added protein and with a small amount of fat, it favors sleep.

8. To improve digestion, you can additionally use enzyme preparations. In any case, you should always have with enterosorbents.

9. Try to sleep well the first night after arrival, without resorting to sleeping pills. This will allow the body to quickly adapt to the new rhythm of life.

10. Plan the first days of your arrival so that, if possible, the psychological and physical stress is minimal. The main thing is not to overexert yourself. It is better to prefer active rest as relaxed as possible in the first 2-3 days.

Be careful with Melatonin

The hormone melatonin produced by the pineal gland (epiphysis) of the brain is involved in the regulation of the daily biological rhythms of the body. Its concentration increases during the night's sleep and decreases in the morning, so it is figuratively called the “hormone of the night.”

In recent years, preparations containing artificial melatonin and intended to accelerate the adaptation of the body to jet lag have been actively advertised. In the US, they are sold without a prescription at any pharmacy. It is important to remember that these drugs are strictly contraindicated in children and adolescents, women who want to become pregnant, pregnant and lactating mothers suffering from cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, allergies, disorders of the immune system, impaired renal function, epilepsy, diabetes mellitus, patients with these types of cancer, like leukemia and lymphoma.

You should refrain from using "Melatonin" if you are taking drugs from the group of beta-blockers, acetylsalicylic acid, ibuprofen, painkillers and steroid drugs. Therefore, before using Melatonin, consult your doctor.

You should also be aware that in most countries the importation of drugs, which include the substance melatonin, is prohibited. Melatonin is forbidden to sell in the European Union and Canada.

By the way, melatonin is synthesized both by humans and animals, and by plants, which means that it is present in small quantities in food. As a natural hormone, melatonin is found in foods such as rice, banana, onions, cherries, and red grapes.

Eating them for dinner, you naturally, without urging the body with synthetic hormones, adapt more easily to local time.

But all the troubles with the jetlag certainly pass much easier when next to us are our dear and beloved loved ones. After all, the time apart from the children and parents, whom we fly to visit Russia, is so endlessly long, and the joy of meeting is so huge!

The original material is published on the website. Our Texas. Republishing done with permission of the publisher.

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