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Jet Lag Just Keeps Getting Worse

Apparently, jet lag is way more of a pain than we thought – and it’s not always caused by jets.

Jet lag is the worst. You fly all day to get to some amazing exotic location, and when you get there, you’re just too tired to enjoy it. But according to new research reported by Live Science, it’s not just fatigue wreaking havoc on your jet-lagged body. It can also affect other things – like your blood sugar level and eating habits. And, speaking from experience, it can also make you nauseous and dizzy. Thanks for nothing, flying.

The study also found that jet lag doesn’t necessarily occur only after taking a long flight. It can be a result of changing your social habits or work schedule as well – anything that alters your regular schedule. This is called “social jet lag.”

Luckily there are some things you can do to fight plane-based jet lag. First, and probably least possible, is to fly only to the west. The study showed that flying east is much harder on the body’s rhythms – going west makes it much easier for you, on a cellular level, to adjust your natural clock.

Secondly, try to prepare for jet lag. The study showed that based on how many time zones you travel over, jet lag can last for one to six days. If you’re ready for it from the beginning – say, you’ve pre-adjusted your schedule to match that of where you’re headed – than you won’t have as many problems as others on your flight.

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danielonn June 21, 2017

I fly internationally and do not suffer jetlag. For instance from San Francisco to Europe and back I mentally get on schedule by telling my brain 10 AM is 10 AM Paris time and then I eat sleep and exdrcise on that schedule. I stay up until 10 PM with at most a 30 minute dog nap. I drink lots of water eat dinner on the plane and breakfast on the plane..I like the 3 PM departure and 11 AM arrival to Europe and the 10.AM departure and 12 :30 PM arruival home.

mandolino June 20, 2017

Yes, PM arrival - good. Hard to achieve UK -> Australia unless you overnight somewhere as in my first post. AM arrival - the infamous Melbourne/Sydney zombie walk.

The_Bouncer June 20, 2017

As someone who can't sleep on planes in any class, the ONLY thing that matters for me on long haul is the arrival time. PM arrival = instant adjustment. AM arrival = 2-3 days as a zombie that smokes and drinks coffee.

zarkov505 June 19, 2017

Jet lag is actually easy to deal with if you are or have access to a competent hypnotist. (Yes, I weasel-worded that: Certification does not necessarily indicate competence.) You still have to eat, you still have to hydrate, you still have to sleep EVENTUALLY, and you will still be PHYSICALLY exhausted - but adjusting circadian rhythms as needed is EASY. Yes, I am speaking from actual experience here. I've had my circadians linked to my wristwatch for over ten years now. (Note: Daylight Savings Time is *NOT* a problem.) Note: This can really screw up your day if IRROPS cause you to arrive at your destination after a LOOOONG trip at 7 AM. You will be physically exhausted, but your body will know it is morning and time to be up and about. Forcing yourself to sleep in those conditions can be annoyingly difficult. (Yes, I am speaking from actual experience here as well. *GROAN*.) Most recent eastbound transPacific hop, I did the timezone adjustment in three stages, to be gentler on myself, rather than one and done. I'd had almost no sleep the night before I left. I was on vacation, out very late with friends I don't get to see very often, what do you expect me to do?

mandolino June 19, 2017

A typical trip from UK to East Coast Australia takes me about a week and a half to get over. Most of my colleagues say the same although there's always a minority who claim not to get jet lag. Of course, by a week and a half on a business trip, I'm already halfway round Australia and into the back nine. Once I flew to Australia Business Class, stopping overnight in KL. My wife decided to come with me in Y at the last minute. I slept on the flight but couldn't sleep in the hotel in KL. My wife couldn't sleep on the flight but slept like a baby in KL, so got over the jet lag much more quickly than me. Go figure. Adjusting your hours before you leave just brings the jet lag forward and makes no sense if you're working. My strategy now is to work around the jet lag and with my bio-rhythms instead of trying to defeat them.