It is not a secret that frequent travelers are at some point affected by the rigors of travel and will have to deal with the after-effects like jet lag and fatigue. If not checked, these issues can affect your health and performance levels. Every traveler needs to know how to avoid fatigue and jet lag.
For those who travel frequently and especially through different times zones the symptoms of jet lag are all too familiar. Fortunately, for those who take long flights frequently, there are ways to subdue or even prevent the effects of jet lag by employing some simple but effective strategies.
You can experience jet lag any time you travel suddenly across time zones; the more time zones you cross, the higher the likelihood of getting sleepy and sluggish. Jet lag disrupts sleep patterns and other circadian rhythms due to sudden time zones changes. It can leave one with problems like insomnia, diminished physical and mental performance and indigestion, etc.
A study by Mark Rosekind, Ph.D. of Alertness Solutions, on travelers crossing more than two, time zones confirmed that they were affected by fatigue which lowered their productivity and performance levels. People who are affected by jetlag were shown to be less productive because of a general malaise resulting from the journey, and there was diminished mental alertness in virtually all those tracked for the study.
It is important to know that the longer your flight, the worse the fatigue you will feel and the worse the effects of jet lag you will experience. Crossing time zones interfere with and throw off your internal rhythms especially the internal clock.
There are so many things on a flight which contributes to travel fatigue to intensify jetlag problems. You will have to deal with a cramped space which limits movement, restricted food choices which must be eaten with caution to avoid intestinal issues, dehydration from recycled dry cabin air, limited oxygen (hypoxia) and sleep disruption.
So, do you avoid fatigue and jet lag?
The good news is that there are simple steps and changes you can make to deal with and prevent the effects of frequent or long-distance flights.
Preparing for your journey before you get on the plane is just as important as the steps during and after to keep you comfortable.
- Planning helps greatly by eliminating stress which would otherwise arise from last minute preparations. Confirm flight and hotel reservations early enough, printing out your boarding pass a day to, and driving to the airport in time. Booking flights which touch down in the morning will help re-set your internal clock much more efficiently.
- Prepare for sleep in the plane by packing a sleep kit in your carry-on bag. Have earplugs, eye masks, soothing music, and essential oils like lavender oil which you can even use in your hotel.
- Sleep well and sufficiently before you travel; ensure that you are well rested before your trip and will negate the effects of fatigue. Sleep deficiency and disruption are a significant problem for frequent travelers.
- Dress comfortably do not put on tight fitting clothes- wear comfortable and loose-fitting yet warm clothing for your flight.
- Prepare mentally for unforeseen eventualities like travel delays. Set realistic expectations and allow room for the unexpected so that you will be less frustrated and upset if they occur.
There are certain things which you can do to improve your in-flight experience for more comfort and to avoid fatigue while traveling.
- Make your flight comfortable by packing an in-flight pillow and a light blanket to help you get well rested and sleep. A C-shaped pillow to fit around your neck will keep your head moving around or suffering a stiff neck and take off your shoes or loosen shoe for improved circulation.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Drinking water will help counter to deal with the effects of the dry recycled cabin air. Stay away from carbonated beverages which may leave you with excess stomach gas.
- Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics which will make you take frequent toilet trips. The less you leave your seat, the higher the likely hood of falling asleep and getting the much need rest. Do not drink a lot of fluids, a unit on the ground acts like two in the air.
- Relieve ear pressure by chewing gum through the flight and do not fly if you are suffering from a serious ear or sinus congestion because you may experience severe pain or even damage your eardrums.
Accommodation best practices
The effects of long travel do not end with the arrival at your destination. There are things you will need to do in your hotel or any other accommodation to keep you in tiptop shape mentally and physically.
- Do not book a room close to the ballroom bar, nightclub or restaurant so that the noise is not a distraction. If your room has an alarm clock, ensure that it is set to go off when you want it to, not the previous guest’s time.
- Some hotels have designated quiet areas with rooms or floors explicitly reserved for customers who want quiet and uninterrupted rest and sleep.
- Make use of the gym facilities to exercise or spa facilities for massages to relax and help keep away physical and mental stress.
With these tips, you should be able to counter the effects of long and frequent travel and know how to avoid fatigue and jet lag. Adopt some or all of these tips to make your next trip much more comfortable and less tiring so that your performance levels remain at peak levels and you stay healthy in the long run especially those who travel frequently.