July 1, 2010

Overcoming Jet Lag with Healthy Diet

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Jet lag is a modern condition which has a physiological manifestation. It is a condition where the ‘body clock’ goes out of synchronization with the surrounding environment because of a rapid shift from one time zone to another. This occurs when travelling long distances by jet plane either heading west or heading east. The term ‘body clock’ refers to the circadian rhythm of the body which gets disrupted due to this unnatural shift in time zones. The human body is designed to be awake for around 16 hours per day with 8 hours of sleep. These values vary depending on the circumstances one might find oneself in. The time zone is a man made demarcation of areas where, based on the sunrise and sunset, the time is set. This zone is based on the average time of sunrise and the average time of sunset during the entire year. When one travels long distances across the globe, one usually arrives within 8 to 14 hours depending on what route one is travelling. It is possible to cover as many hours of time difference such that one arrives at the destination where the local time is the same or just a couple of hours ahead of the local time at the place from where one took off. However, the local time at the departure point will have aprogressed by the duration of the flight. A long flight also tends to dehydrate the body slightly as the aircraft air tends to be low in humidity. Thus, when one arrives at the destination, one’s body clock is set to another time altogether. Jet lag is thus the condition where a person is unable to sleep or wake up at the time normal to the local area where he or she has arrived. Jet lag also affects a person’s work performance and could even have an effect on the bowel movements of a person causing diarrhea or constipation.

There are many different theories on how to overcome jet lag. Some of the common jet lag tips include plenty of rest before the flight and consumption of healthy meals for 2 or 3 days before the flight so that the body is in good order. This would also make for a good jet lag diet. Some people suggest staying awake the entire duration of the flight if one is arriving at night at the destination. This will help you sleep immediately once you arrive. Some good remedies for jet lag include drinking as much water as possible during the flight and visiting the toilet often so that one continuously regulates fluids and gets some walking done as well.