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How to Prevent Jet Lag

Whenever you travel overseas on a long airline trip, there are two dreaded words we all hate to hear: jet lag. We all get it. Jet lag is that awful feeling of confusion and tiredness that comes about as a result of a long journey, especially one that involves traveling overseas. Jet lag can often steal several days of your overseas visit.

Those who may be on a business trip can lose an important deal due to your brain not functioning at a high level. Or, if you're on a vacation, you can lose some of your valuable rest and relaxation. No fun there! Jet lag is quite common. A survey by Conde Naste said 93% of travelers get jet lag. Even 96% of flight attendants get it. So what causes jet lag anyway?

  • Time zones. Going across different time zones is the number one cause of jet lag. It happens most frequently by going from the west to the east, but you can get jet lag by traveling east to west also.

  • Cabin pressure and stale air. The air pressure in an airline cabin is many times higher than what we experience every day on the ground. The air in an airplane is re-circulated over and over again. This results in you breathing in very stale air. The results? You can get headaches and become sleepy.

  • Alcohol. Having alcoholic drinks on a long travel overseas is very common for most adults. Did you know that flying increases the effects of alcohol by up to 300%? Think about what 2-3 drinks do to you at home and then multiply that effect by 3 times! It's no wonder you feel like falling asleep.

  • Being in your seat for 12-16 hours. It can easily take many hours to travel across an ocean during your flight. This can put added pressure on your stomach. This occurs at a time when you're probably eating more than usual because you have nothing else to do. You're just trying to pass the time.

    Preflight stress. The time spent getting ready for a long flight can also help contribute to jet lag. Many times we rush around trying to get packed, clothes washed, etc. You can easily be up the night before until late in the night trying to get ready. Instead of getting the rest you really need, you're running around getting the stress you don't need.

    So what is the solution? How can we reduce or eliminate the effects of jet lag? Try to plan ahead as much as you possibly can. Perhaps some of your family members can help you get ready. Be sure to go to bed at a reasonable time and get the sleep you need before having to travel.

    Try to reduce your intake of alcohol on long overseas travel. Even caffeine in soda can contribute to jet lag. The best solution is to drink lots of bottled water. You can even take some with you in your carry on luggage.

    Get up and move around while on a long flight. Sitting in a cramped position for hours at a time only adds to the misery of getting jet lag. Get some exercise. Twist and stretch out to keep your muscles relaxed. Walk up and down the cabin if possible every once in a while. This can keep your feet from swelling up.

    You don't need to let jet lag ruin your business or vacation travel. Use these techniques and enjoy your trip!

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