“Jet lag” can happen for a number of reasons. Basically, the body’s system gets out of whack. This can be due to air travel, hence the origin of the name, when a traveler passes into another time zone. The term has also come to be used for similar situations, like people working shift work who get out of their daily routine during shift changes. Some symptoms include loss of appetite, headaches, fatigue, disorientation, upset stomach, insomnia and irritability. Jet lag, no matter why you have it, is not a comfortable feeling. In a work setting, it can mean the difference in attitude in working with others and even in work related accidents. In travelers, jet lag can mean the difference between a good trip and a bad one.
While sleep aids like blindfolds, ear plugs and small neck pillows are recommended for people who are traveling by air for great distances, sleeping pills are not. Taking sleeping pills often induces a deep sleep that becomes almost comatose. With little or no body movement during a long flight, the traveler might suffer from a blood clot. Plus, in a deep sleep state, a flight attendant or passerby might not notice if you are having a health problem because your body might not be able to react while you are knocked out.
So, leave the sleeping pills behind for your next long trip. Instead, pack a few items to make you more comfortable and walk and stretch in the aisles when it is permitted. You should also drink more fluids – non-alcoholic fluids – while flying to prevent dehydration.
The best way to deal with jet lag is to plan your travel to allow time for it. Generally speaking, jet lag will not linger more than 12 hours, the maximum time zone difference you can travel. Within that amount of time, you should start gaining your grounding again and having relief of symptoms. If you are planning air travel to attend a meeting or a conference, try to arrive early enough to have time to recuperate from anticipated jet lag.
If you have tried that and still have horrible jet lag, address it before you board your next flight. If you suffer from serious nausea or headaches with your jet lag, talk to your doctor before your next trip. Explain your symptoms and he or she can make suggestions or appropriate prescriptions for your ailments.