Categories: Special Interest

Lose the Lag: Catching up on Sleep After Travelling

We’ve all experienced it before, that groggy feeling that could easily be mistaken for a hangover if not for the fact that you didn’t drink the night before, instead you were on board a 747 from JFK to LAX. While the flight went smoothly, it’s when you get off the plane where you really start to feel the effects of long travel time. The people who are most affected by jet lag are those traveling east to west due to the time they are losing on board the flight. Those traveling west to east will also feel the lag, depending on how many time zones they cross. Travelers least affected are those whose journey takes them north to south or vice versa because usually they are in the same time zone for the duration of the trip. If you’re doing a lot of traveling in the upcoming months, the National Sleep Foundation has come up with some solutions to jet lag:

  • Make sure to pick a flight that permits early evening arrival and stay up until 10 p.m. local time.
  • Prepare for the time change for your impending trip by waking up and going to bed earlier a few days before your trip east, and later if you’re going west.
  • Skip the coffee and Bloody Marys once on board, they’ll prevent you from sleeping through the in-flight nighttime movie.
  • Once you arrive at your destination, avoid having a heavy meal first thing off the plane, you’re better sticking with a light snack.
  • (I thought this one was really interesting) Try to go outside when you’ve reached your destination.  Daylight helps to regulate the biological clock and staying indoors increases the effects of jet lag.

For those of you who weren’t able to escape from jet lag’s evil grip, fear not.  While the effects of jet lag will keep you drowsy for a few days, you’ll soon be on the mend.  According to MedicineNet, the recovery period for jet lag is directly proportional to how many time zones you crossed over while traveling. Your body will adjust to the new time zone at the rate of one or two time zones per day. So if you crossed over six time zones during your flight, your body will be completely adjusted to the time change in three to five days.  Like everything else, some people will be able to adjust to the time change quicker than others but it’s still nice to know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, or in this case, a peaceful night’s sleep and fog-free days ahead.

Once you get back home after traveling, make sure you change your sheets.  It’s important to sleep in a clean bed in an environment that you’re familiar with.  As we all know, nothing beats our own mattress and sheets after using airplane pillows and blankets.  Until you can reach that destination, happy travelling and good luck with the lag!

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    Amber Merton

    Amber Merton is an accomplished writer on the topics of green living and sleep. Her work has been covered in numerous online publications. Amber has been a regular author on the PlushBeds blog for the past 7 years.

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