How to adapt to time zone changes

  • 2011-01-27

On cold winter days everybody wants some tender summer sun! To lie on the beach and swim in the warm sea! In order to fulfill our desires, we go to the travel agency, buy tours to faraway places or go on trips on our own.

Getting ready to travel, we try to foresee everything – making two copies of documents, route planning and buying guides, taking a huge suitcase with clothes and stuff ... but, in excitement of anticipation of the upcoming trip and vivid impressions, we often forget about such phenomena as acclimatization, change of time zones and jetlag...
The so-called jetlag in travel slang means the time difference when you fly from the other side of the world to the east - for example, from Chicago to Moscow with a connection in London. Only a radical change in climate or pressure differences can be worse than jet lag for the organism.

The process of adapting to changing time zones is not permanent, but is accompanied by unpleasant symptoms, including insomnia, dehydration, fatigue, headache, irritability, problems with coordination of movements and digestion.
They say that traveling west across time zones is easier than traveling east. But both of these trips can cause serious illness in human organs and systems. Therefore, we recommend you think about how not to sleep through your entire vacation and cope with jetlag:

1.The main method of dealing with this phenomenon - is to switch to the rhythm of the desired zone in advance, spending a few days before the trip according to the time of the destination place. But it works only when the difference is less than four hours, because living in advance according to, for example, a Japanese schedule will simply not work.

2. You need to drink a lot, because water reduces the risk of dehydration and prevents the development of deep vein thrombosis due to long hours of immobility during the flight. So do not forget to take a bottle of non-carbonated water from the Tax free shop in the airport.

3. You should avoid caffeine and alcohol because they cause dehydration and disrupt the function of internal biological clocks. Caffeine invigorates and alcohol makes you sleepy, but both make it more difficult to cope with jetlag.

4. 3 mg of melatonin (the principal hormone of the pineal gland) can help you restore your natural sleep. It is recommended to use it at night while flying to the west and between 6 and 7 am when flying east.

5. Upon arrival at the new location during the day it is best to go in the sun, so the body can produce melatonin.

6. Eat well – research has shown that a meal rich with carbohydrates on the eve of the flight will help to fall asleep faster.

7. Take care of your sleep - already in the hotel during bedtime you should put on headphones that will protect you from noises and a special mask over the eyes will protect from the light. Better sleep in a cool place, because our body perceives the temperature decrease as a signal that the time for sleep has come.

8. Protein-rich breakfast the day after the trip will help the brain to receive everything you need for normal operation. It is recommended that you build your daily diet according to your new schedule. It is not recommended to get up at night to eat, as this will only exacerbate the problem.

9. If you need a regular intake of medications, consult your doctor to plan a new timetable for taking them without breaking the cycles of sleep and wakefulness.

Happy travels to you!