by Ben McCreary
Jet lag affects travelers in several ways and there are just as many suggestions to cure it. Your body’s natural rhythms will be disrupted and out of sync due to traveling through different time zones, resulting in unpleasant and unwanted symptoms. Crankiness, disorientation and tiredness are just a few of the effects jet lag has on the body. Most travelers experience the same types of symptoms, although some travelers may feel the effects more intensely. Knowing what to take with you for the long trip can help you ease and even eliminate some of those symptoms.
Dressing properly for a long-distance flight is a good way to start your trip. Wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothes allows your body to move freely without restriction. Avoid tight-fitting apparel, tight belts, extremely snug waistbands or collars to allow easy breathing and eliminate binding around the body that constricts circulation. Dress in layers made from soft, expandable and stain-resistant material. You can add or remove items as the temperature changes in the cabin. Pack an alternate outfit or accessories in a carry-on to change into when the plane lands.
The Right Shoes
Keeping your feet comfortable during the flight is easy to achieve with slippers. When sitting for long periods of time wearing snug or tight-fitting shoes feet tend to swell due to lack of circulation. To prevent this, pack a pair of slippers and socks to keep your feet warm and comfortable.
Keep the Air Flowing
The temperature in the plane can fluctuate from hot to cold and somewhere in-between, causing the air to become dry. To help alleviate the dryness, open the air vent above your seat, then place a dampened facecloth over your face. The air from the vent directed at the damp cloth is refreshing and eases the dryness. Run the dampened cloth over your arms, face and neck to cool down if you feel overheated.
Take Neck Pillows
Whether you plan to sleep on long-distance flights or take a short nap, keeping your body as comfortable as possible will help lessen the effects of jet lag. It is important to provide as much support as possible to get the most out of sleep time. Two things to pack are an inflatable neck pillow and a small pillow to support your lower back during the flight. Both of these items take up little room but play a big part.
Don’t Forget the Medicine
There are natural homeopathic tablets, over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs available to help ease, and in some cases, eliminate the aftereffects of jet lag. Consult with your physician about prescription medications and ask for recommendation about taking other forms of jet-lag medications relevant to your personal medical history.
Travel Alarm Clock
Take a travel alarm clock to keep you on time and on schedule once you reach your destination. Because your body’s rhythm will be out of tune upon arrival, if you choose to take a short nap to readjust, set the clock so you do not over- sleep. Do this whenever you need to nap until your body’s timing is back on track and you are no longer feeling the effects of jet lag.
Sleep deprivation due to jet lag is a major player in confusing your body’s rhythm. To help you sleep through the night, pack an over-the-counter medication that will relax you and allow a good night’s sleep. Using a sleep aid can help reset your body’s internal timer.
Ben is a freelance travel writer who loves to visit new places and try the local food! He’s one of those people who always say ‘Yes!’ to entreaties to taste something strange.