As if the long, tiring flight from one continent to the other wasn’t already enough, but the change in time zone also has to be dealt with. Yes, many of us are aware of the typical symptoms of jet lag: fatigue, insomnia, lack of concentration, or even mood swings. And this can mess up the first few days of your holiday, right?

It is said that the internal biorhythms shift, and that you’re to expect an adjustment period of about a half to a full day, per overflown time zone, depending on your age and condition. It doesn’t matter if you’re going on holiday or whether you’re returning home – a jet lag is always annoying! So it’s now time to deal with the well-known phenomenon of jet lag. I, your holiday guru, who is known for jetting across the whole world, am trying to make travelling as beautiful and comfortable for you as possible. It is clear that jet lag cannot simply be cured from one moment to the next. However, with some tips and tricks, the typical symptoms can definitely be eased – I’ve tested some of them myself. And what’s with Viagra as a cure for jet lag? I wouldn’t want to keep you from that!

Tips for jet lag – what to do?

Travelling east and west | Helpful tips | Viagra and Co.

Travelling east or west?

First of all, your destination is important – depending on your direction of flight, the typical jet lag symptoms can vary. If you fly from London in the direction of America, say, to New York, it is easier for your body to get used to the new rhythm. For example: if you arrive in New York at 4 pm, it is already 9 pm back in the U.K. So when you travel west, a bit of time is gifted to you. It’s a good idea to persevere and try to stay awake here. This way you can fall asleep fast and above all, sleep well. Whereas if you travel east on the other hand, for example towards Tokyo, it is of course much more difficult. The day here is shorter and time is ‘lost’, so to speak. Therefore, it is not surprising that in Asia it is more difficult to get used to the new rhythm, than when travelling to the USA. Your body is simply transported into a different time zone, but your inner biorhythms continue as usual. If you’re travelling east, I’d recommend, if possible, going to sleep a bit earlier a few days before your holiday, and getting up a bit earlier the next morning. When travelling west, it’s the other way round – going to sleep later and, once again if possible, getting up later. This way you can prevent any possible symptoms.

Portrait of a tired young woman sleeping at airport shutterstock_196720628

Helpful tips for jet lag:

  • Adjusting to the time – a simple but nevertheless helpful tip: if you change your clock to the corresponding time in your holiday destination, you can adjust mentally to the new time. As soon as you arrive, you won’t constantly be thinking about how late it is in your
    home country. It’s a mind game. It’s all in your head and not particularly helpful to get you used to the time change.
  • Adjusting to the meal times of your destination: as soon as you are in a new time zone and have already changed your clock, try to get used to the new eating times. If your stomach is still working according to your usual eating times, then try eating something a bit smaller. You should then plan to eat your proper meals according to the typical eating times of the country you’re travelling to.
  • Carbohydrates or protein – depending on your destination: also important for jet lag is your choice of food. As a general rule, you should eat carbohydrates (fruit, potatoes, pasta, rice) travelling east, as they make you tired quicker. If you’re travelling west, I’d recommend foods which are rich in protein (fish, cheese, meat, eggs, dairy products). The consumption of drinks containing caffeine is also recommended, as they help to combat your natural sleep needs. Drinking water doesn’t help with jet lag – instead, it supports the adaptative responses of the body.
  • Lots of sunlight and fresh air: you will probably feel a certain tiredness during the daytime because of the time change. If you just want to sleep, instead of taking a midday nap – I know, a nap can be quite tempting – you should go and get some sun and spend some time outdoors. Sunlight can inhibit the sleep hormone melatonin. This is the hormone which makes us become tired in the evening. You should only go to sleep when the sun goes down.
  • Medication: a very important topic is also any medicine, which you have to take regularly. It is recommended to consult with a doctor or pharmacist beforehand to adjust your intake to the respective time zone. This way you will avoid any possible unwanted symptoms. As far as sleeping pills are concerned, I would advise you against them. Although they promote sleep, they do not have any influence on the adaptation of the body function. As a result, they only have a short-term positive effect.
  • Important for business travellers – planning your meetings at the right time: if you’re entering another time zone because of a business appointment, it’s recommended that you plan important meetings for a time when you feel the most awake. Generally: for destinations in the west, the mornings are better, and for destinations in the east, later in the day is better.
  • Postpone strenuous activities until the next day: once you arrive at your holiday destination, I’m sure you’d like to get going straight away and experience as much as possible, depending on your destination. But if you’re not pushed for time, and you have a few spare days, it’s best to postpone any strenuous activities by a day or two. They will simply tire you out and prolong your adaptation to the new time zone. So, if possible, take it easy to begin with! :)

Viagra as a cure for jet lag?

You always hear it here and there: the potency-enhancing drug Viagra does, in fact, fight the symptoms of jet lag. Yes, like you just did, I also inquired! And no, I did not try it! But what’s the reason for this rumour? Most of us probably already know the purpose of this drug! However, what has not been proven so far and is, therefore, a very controversial claim, is that Viagra, with its active ingredient sildenafil, can also help as a remedy against jet lag. So far, as is unfortunately often the case, it has only been tested on hamsters. Whether the results can be transferred to humans and can counteract the effects of jet lag, is still unclear.
This is also the case with melatonin, which is sold in the US as a dietary supplement and is available in almost every supermarket. This drug can attack the hormone balance and is only available as a prescription in the U.K. So it’s probably best to keep your hands off this stuff!

I hope that a few of these tips will help you with your next trip to a different time zone. Perhaps you have your own tips, which help you deal with jet lag? Then let me know, because I look forward to seeing your comments.

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