Tips to combat jet lag

Tips to combat jet lag

Are you ready to jet set to your next vacation spot? Don’t forget to take into account the effects of jet lag that are all too real when returning back to work on that dreaded Monday morning after vacation.

Dr. Joseph Chimino, internal medicine physician at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, shares what you need to know about jet lag and its effects.

What exactly is jet lag?

Jet lag results from a change in one’s circadian rhythm, or the body’s internal clock related to travel. While it can occur after a small excursion, it typically takes traveling over three times zones to impact your body. Your circadian rhythm becomes out of sync with the surrounding environment.

How does jet lag affect my mind and body?

There are some surprising consequences of jet lag. Since our circadian rhythm regulates sleep, metabolism, and when various hormones are released in our body, the effects can be widespread. From cognitive effects, such as poor concentration and performance, to headaches, fatigue, and indigestion, jet lag can really impact your daily life immediately following a trip.

How can you prevent or counteract jet lag?

The circadian rhythm is a little longer than 24 hours, so in general, it is easier to lengthen your day rather than shorten it. This is why it might be easier for your body to adjust when traveling from the east coast to the west coast. Increasing your exposure to light and staying up longer in order to lengthen the day are possible strategies to overcome jet lag’s effects. Conversely, some people also take melatonin to cause sleepiness and essentially shorten their day to help their body get back on track.

Whatever the strategy, the body’s internal clock is hard to reset, and the symptoms of jet lag are likely to be present for several days.

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About the Author

Marrison Worthington
Marrison Worthington

Marrison Worthington, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing manager at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois. She is a graduate of Illinois State University and has several years of global corporate communications experience under her belt. Marrison loves spending her free time traveling, reading organizational development blogs, trying new cooking recipes, and playing with her golden retriever, Ari.