Coping with Jet Lag this Holiday Season

Coping with Jet Lag this Holiday SeasonIt’s that time of year again! Spending quality time with friends and family is one part of the holiday season that many of us look forward to. However, for some of us, that means traveling. Flying coast-to-coast presents us with a three-hour time difference to deal with. It may not seem like much, but when 8pm becomes 11pm, the change can become noticeable. Additionally, if you’re packing up and heading out on an international trip, the time difference can be quite jarring. So, how does one handle the jetlag that comes with traveling?

What is Jet Lag?

Jet lag occurs any time you quickly switch across two or more time zones. It stands to reason that the further you travel, the more intense a time difference you will encounter. Depending on the number of hours changed, you will become increasingly sleepy and the symptoms of jetlag will be more noticeable.

This sleep disorder, although temporary, can take over a week to recover from in some cases. It may take a day for your body to cope with each time zone you have crossed. It is generally worst when you “lose time”––when you travel west to east. Factors such as age may cause you to be more affected by jet lag and may increase the overall recovery time.

Jet lag is caused when your biological clock is thrown off. Your body takes cues from light, activity level, and social interactions to determine sleep and wake times. Disrupting this cycle affects your internal clock, and the symptoms of jetlag arise.

How To Deal With Jetlag

  • Adjust to the new schedule
    • If you’re going east, move your bedtime earlier in half-hour increments to get your body used to the change. If you’re traveling west, do the opposite. You can also change your mealtimes to mimic the change.

  • Change the time on your watch
    • This subtle change can help you to adjust psychologically.

  • Try to sleep on the plane
    • Many transAtlantic flights turn the lights off when you go over to ocean to encourage travelers to get some shut-eye and acclimate to their destination.

  • Arrive early
    • If you’re traveling for a conference or other important event, try arriving a few days in advance to allow yourself to adjust.

  • Try taking a warm shower or bath before bedtime
    • Take advantage of the hotel’s amenities and treat yourself to a relaxing bath or shower. The warm temperature as well as the opportunity to relax will help you to get into the resting mindset.

  • Practice good sleep hygiene
    • Eye masks, earplugs, and minimizing screen exposure before bedtime will all help you to fall asleep.

Adjusting to a time change can be tricky, but these tips will help to minimize the shock. If you are experiencing sleep issues that last more than a week, or if you just want to improve your sleep schedule, contact us today! Call (905) 471-2967 today or schedule your consultation online now!

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