Jet Lag

In today’s world of jet setting and cheap, high-speed international transport, jet lag is common. It merely means that the body’s internal biorhythms are thrown out of gear as successive time zones are crossed, and a person is suddenly confronted with a totally new “local time” when that person’s internal time clock is set at the time “back home,” probably 18,000 km and many time zones away. In short, while the brain is saying the sights of London are there to enjoy, the body is clamoring for a deep, refreshing sleep in Melbourne or Wellington.

Jet Lag Treatment

Some drug therapies such as melatonin are claimed to help, but there is no universal cure by medication. Ideally, plan the trip so that you arrive at your destination in the evening, can have a bath and slip into a fresh bed and a good sleep. The next day, one would often feel much more mentally and physically refreshed. Do not plan any important appointments for the first day, and do not drive a car for 24 – 36 hours after arrival.

Accidents are much more probable when your mental awareness is taking time to adjust. Sitting in the sun or under fluorescent lighting for two to four hours is claimed to help reset the internal time clock. Flying with the sun (east to west) is usually less mentally tiring than coming in the reverse direction (west to east). Flying from Sydney or Auckland to Los Angeles, for example, is more tiring than the reverse trip.

Flying Sydney or Auckland to London is easier than the reverse. If possible, buy a round-the-world ticket rather than having to retrace your steps, and fly in the “wrong” direction. Try to get sleep on the plane, even if it means taking a mild sedative. Go easy on food; do not eat everything offered on every occasion. Walk around the cabin often, and disembark at stopovers, even if only for an hour or so. Water-based drinks in abundance are best. Perspiration (often without you being aware of it) draws large volumes of fluid from the system. This must be replaced otherwise dehydration occurs and aggravates symptoms. These simple suggestions often help.