Jetlag is something that will catch up with everyone soon enough. Shush you who can sleep through a tornado, wake up the other side and be perfectly in time with the world around you, I was like you once, but on the latest return from my travels Jetlag hit me like a tonne of bricks.
3am I sat bolt up right, as though the lights had switched on in my brain with no plans on turning off again. Baking, a quick dog walk, breakfast and catching up on my weekly magazines saw me through to leaving for work and I just about managed to get through the day complete all my work and make the hour long slog home without falling asleep – hoorah & huzzah!
Being quite an energetic person – read easily excitable like a 6 year old – I do not enjoy getting sleepy and become much like a 6 year old when they insist they are not tired, whilst dozing off and running around at the same time.
So let’s take this one step at a time, what is Jet lag? It’s where our ‘internal clocks’ or circadian rhythm, if you want the technical term, is thrown off due to a significant time change, well it’s more to do with light, but we’ll get back to that. To get rid of jet lag, you need to ‘reset your clock’ to the right time, as it were. Here is what I find works a treat:
1. Exercise, yes it sounds ridiculous to run around and burn off steam when your a tad sleepy anyway. But exercise has been linked through several studies to easier adjustment to a new time zone. It is said to effect the part of the brain responsible for setting your circadian rhythm, by… well that’s the tricky bit, no one really knows the mechanism behind it. But the key is to keep this as close to your usual exercise time as possible. Normally workout in the morning, then exercise in the morning to get synced up.
2. Yoga before bed. Some of the less challenging poses involving more focus on your breath get me extremely sleepy in a yoga class even when I start as awake as ever. The reclining goddess, child & corpse pose along with deep breathing are all perfect to get you sleepy just before bed or when you’ve woken up in the middle of the night.
3. If there’s a question to do with health 9 times out of 10 water will help. Reduce headaches, clears up your skin and perks you up when you’re starting to flag. Keep hydrated, if it doesn’t help your jetlag at least it will help your post long haul flight skin!
4. Avoid bright lights before bed. That’s right switch off your laptop, don’t fall asleep to the tele and don’t give into to the endless instagram scrolling. The light will effect when your body releases melatonin, a vital hormone in your circadian rhythm. You’ll be better for it in the morn, promise!
5. Simple yet effective. Eat at normal times within 12 hours e.g. 8am – 8pm. When digesting a meal a cascade of hormones come into play, so it comes as no surprise that eating at odd times, pre-jet lagged you was used to will do you no favours in adjusting to your current time zone. So no midnight snacks, try to keep to the normal daytime hours for eating.
Can you see a link building here? Who would of thought clocks were so dependent on timings, huh?