Jet Lag and Your Sleep
Your dream trip to Rome, the excitement has built for months. The flight was 9 hours, long but manageable. You can hear the bustling city sounds as you exit the airport doors. You should be roaring to go, but instead, you feel like you have not slept for days. The back of your brain senses that fuzziness from sleep deprivation. It is indeed a weird feeling to be so excited and so exhausted at the same time. Hours later night has come, the tiredness is gone. The local time is 10 pm, your bedtime. You find yourself laying in bed, mind racing until wee hours of the morning, still no sleep. Jet lag has found another victim, and you are facing another day with a mixture of extreme excitement and tiredness.
Jet lag is the inability for your biological sleep clock to catch up with time zones and travel. Your circadian clock is your sleep and wake schedule. It is set by your environment, your biology, and your lifestyle. Evolution has made our bodies so advanced and efficient that if we trusted ourselves enough, we would find that we don’t need an alarm clock to wake in the mornings. This “efficiency” comes to haunt us greatly if we travel globally, and although lesser so if we travel across the nation, it will still cause some drag. Jet lag causes temporary tiredness and sleeplessness in its victims. Your body is still set in the time zone back home, and you just cannot automatically change your sleep schedule. Jet lag, also known as desynchronosis, causes temporary insomnia and restlessness.
There is no end-all for Jet Lag. There are steps you can take to relieve the entirety of its effects though.
- First, consider this, your “body clock” will adjust about an hour for every day you’re in a different time zone. With this in mind, you can take steps days before your trip to adapt yourself to different time zones. A simple step, but it does require a commitment to discipline yourself to sleeping at odd hours beforehand.
- Secondly, consider sleep aids. No, not sleeping pills, but melatonin. A well researched, well-made melatonin compound can help. Plan on taking it around 7 pm to 8 pm local time. Melatonin would then cause your brain to believe it is it’s natural night time and allow for the transition to sleeping at the local time a bit easier. Not a perfect solution, but significantly easier than trying to face the change on your own.
The good news is Jet Lag is not permanent, the effects last only days. The effects are short-lived for the casual traveler. Keep these tips handy for your next big trip. Please leave a comment or any recommendations you may have on fighting the effects of Jet Lag below. Remember when you Sleep Well, you Live Well.
Sources: Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker Ph.D., https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/jet-lag-and-sleep/page/0/3, https://www.medicinenet.com/jet_lag/article.htm#what_are_other_symptoms_and_signs_of_jet_lag, http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/jet-lag
About the author:
Javier is the owner of Sleep Well, professionally trained sleep stores, specializing in specific mattresses for specific needs. He lives to give. He is an active member of his community and church. His hard work and efforts pay off for him when he can help others, and give to efforts for the betterment of others.
His spare time is spent with his beautiful wife, Gretchen. They are craft beer hobbyists who enjoy making their own beers, visiting small breweries, and making new friends. Their lives revolve around church, family, exercising, four great dogs, and keeping up with their home in Alamogordo NM.