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All About Jetlag

By David Saltonstall
If you've ever travelled across a substantial part of our planet by plane, you may have experienced the misery that is jetlag. This annoying sleep disorder can last from one day to a week, depending on how many time zones you've flown through to get from point A to point B.

Jetlag works by upsetting your body clock and causing you to take a lot longer than normal to adjust to a time zone. It is more likely to affect people as they get older and children are often completely unaware of any problems.

How to get the better of Jetlag

While it is scientifically proven that there is no way to completely avoid jetlag when travelling through time zones, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the effects.

Most importantly, try not to sleep the moment you arrive at your destination. You may be overly tired from the joys of airline travel, but studies have shown that holding out until after 10pm on the night of arrival makes it easier for your body clock to start getting back in sync.

A trick used by frequent flyers is to set their watches to the destination time before there plane even takes off on the journey. That way they are already programming their brains to believe that it is destination time and nothing more than another long day.

When travelling West, frequent flyers recommend going to bed an hour later each night for a week before your flight and waking up an hour later than you normally would.

When travelling East reverse the process, waking up and going to sleep an hour earlier than you normally would for a week before you travel. The aim in both cases is to expose yourself to more/less evening light in order to help your cicadian rythmns change without the jetlag.

If you must use sleeping tablets to help with your jetlag, over the counter sleeping tablets will help for a few days and may help you adapt to your new time zone faster. As with any medication, please make sure you discuss this with your doctor before self-medicating, and be sure not to drive a vehicle under the influence of sleeping tablets.

The best solution for jetlag is just to let it run its course. There is a reason why your body is tired and you should let it sleep to reset your body clock. A couple of nights in a comfortable bed in your destination city should have you back to normal within a day or 2. Just in time to take the trip home and get jetlagged all over again!

The author of the piece has recently traveled to Las Vagas and had noticed the effects of jet-lag on arrival to the hotel. Not wanting to waste any of that special holiday time, Saltonstall (the author) decided on taking a few hours rest in the hotels comfortable beds and slept for 14 hours missing his journalism seminar completely!
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