I do enjoy travelling a lot. One thing I don't enjoy about travel though is the jet lag and travel fatigue afterwards. Sometimes it can make you feel like you need another holiday... you know, like after your holiday!
I think with half of my family on the other side of the world in Hong Kong, I've become used to travelling long haul as I've grown up doing it, but even so, it still has an affect on my sleep, especially when I travel eastwards.
I thought I'd share some info about what I've learnt about jet lag and different ways to combat it. Let's start at the beginning...
What is jet lag?
Jet lag is the sensation of fatigue, lethargy and malaise that occurs as a result of traveling across several time zones. It's not a disease, but it can make you feel tired, irritable and nauseous; jet lag can also affect your sleep, mood and performance.
For example: If you travel east from Los Angeles (3 p.m.) to New York (7 p.m.), you'll lose 4 hours in two days' time. Because of this delay between your biological clock and the new day-night schedule in New York City, it will take about 2 days for your body to adjust fully enough so that its rhythms are synchronized with those at home or at work in L.A.. In addition to making you feel physically unwell when traveling eastward through many time zones—or westward through fewer time zones—jet lag may also trigger psychological issues such as depression or anxiety
What causes jet lag?
Jet lag is a form of desynchronosis (I know! big word!), which is a disorder that occurs when the internal body clock, and external time cues are not in sync with one another.
What are the symptoms of jet lag
Fatigue is the most common symptom of jet lag, and it can last up to a couple of days after you arrive at your destination. Other common symptoms include:
Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
How travel can affect your skin health
Traveling is fun, but sometimes it can wreak havoc on your skin. This isn't surprising—when you're shifting from climate to climate, adjusting to new daily routines and schedules, and spending most of your time in an airplane or car instead of slouching comfortably at home, it's bound to have an effect on your body. Traveling takes you out of your comfort zone and puts you in situations where there's less access to food, water and sleep than usual. This can lead to puffy eyes, dry skin (especially from the plane), breakouts (sometimes from dirty planes too!) and fine lines from dehydration.
Keep your skin as hydrated as you can by using products like my Vitamin C serum and the Forlle'd Refining Lotion. Ensure you cleanse your skin properly when you arrive at your destination and continue to cleanse morning and evening (I know we can feel lazy on holiday!). Keep your skin moisturised and wear an SPF daily (no matter the weather). Most of my products in my clinic are available in travel sizes, so you don't have any excuse to not take your skincare with you.
My top 3 tips to manage jet lag?
Avoid any alcohol, caffeine or heavy meals on the plane. They will just cause further dehydration and make you feel very groggy. Instead, whilst you're on the flight and after you land drink plenty of water. I like to buy a large bottle of water at the airport and just get it refilled on the plane.
As soon as you arrive get your body moving if it's during the day. Don't go straight to sleep if you can help it until nighttime, otherwise you will struggle to sleep in the evening. Instead maybe go for a walk (even if it's just around the hotel) or hit the gym if you're feeling super energetic!
Set your watch to your destination time on the morning of the flight to try and get your mind ready for the change. I tend to do this if I'm going on a long haul flight to mentally adjust to the new time zone.
Treatments for jet lag
There are a number of ways to treat jet lag. While there's no miracle cure, the following tips can help you adjust to a new time zone and feel more refreshed:
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar and salty processed foods. These will only make you feel worse.
Drink water regularly throughout the day — about six large glasses of water each day is recommended for most adults (and even more if it's hot outside).
Eat healthy foods that contain vitamins A and C; these help boost your immune system and reduce fatigue symptoms. Examples include citrus fruits such as oranges or grapefruits; leafy greens like spinach; tomatoes; carrots; broccoli; bell peppers; cauliflower; cabbage family vegetables like green onions, cauliflower florets, Brussels sprouts or cabbage wedges/slices or kohlrabi slices with dip
If you have tried to sleep, but find yourself still awake, get up and do something quiet until you feel tired again.
If you've tried to sleep, but find yourself still awake, get up and do something quiet until you feel tired again. Try not to eat or drink when you are awake. If possible, don't take naps during this time either. If you really can't get yourself to sleep, maybe try a yoga nidra (there are so many on youtube) or some meditation whilst you're lying there to calm your mind and help you drift back to sleep.
I know jet lag is a common problem for a lot of us, and it’s often difficult to get through without some kind of treatment. If you are planning on traveling long distances for work or vacation, try to start adjusting your sleep routine at least one week before you leave. This will allow your body time to adjust gradually and hopefully avoid any unpleasant symptoms during travel as well!
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you found this useful.
Lots of love,