Natural and Home Remedies for Jet Lag

Jet lag is defined as extreme tiredness with other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones.

Aircraft landing at sunset

Jet lag is something that happens when you fly west to east or east to west.  You might be tired from flying north to south, but technically, it is not jet lag.  Traveling rapidly across time zones disrupts the body’s circadian rhythms. Your body’s hormones change throughout the day and that mechanism is out of sync after a long trip where you’ve crossed a few time zones.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Confusion
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Some disease conditions

RISK FACTORS

  • Age
  • Discomfort during the flight
  • Going from west to east is worse than east to west.
  • Long periods of sitting
  • Low immunity
  • Low oxygen levels
  • Pressure in the aircraft cabin

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

The medical community has no treatment for jet lag other than recommendations for lifestyle changes–stay fit and healthy, rest and exercise properly.

DIET

A healthy diet is more of a prevention method than a treatment method for jet lag, although there is a Feast and Fast diet by Dr. Charles Ehret.

FOODS THAT MAY HELP

  • Eat more protein when you want to be alert and more carbs when you want to sleep.
  • Mealtime may be an important regulator with body clocks, so start eating at your destination’s mealtimes before you even leave home and continue throughout the trip.
  • Stay hydrated before traveling ,during travel and at your destination.
  • Eat lighter meals while your body adjusts.
  • Banana before sleep (tryptophan and high carbohydrates).

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID OR REDUCE

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Heavy, high-fat foods
  • Salty foods
  • Smoking

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • California poppy
  • Chamomile
  • Feverfew
  • Green tea
  • Hops
  • Jetlag AM energizing tea (commercial blend)
  • Passionflower
  • Warm milk before bed

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Chamomile
  • Cumin seeds
  • Feverfew
  • Hops
  • Valerian

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically on your skin in a carrier oil (coconut, almond, olive, etc.) or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath or compress. Find recipes for blends on the web or create your own.

  • Balsam
  • Bergamot
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • When you do want to sleep, the commercial blend SleepEssence may help.
  • When you’re feeling tired, but don’t want to sleep, there are some commercial blends to try: Brain Power, Clarity, En-R-Gee

HYDRATION

Stay well hydrated before, during and after the flight.

EXERCISE

Exercise at your destination in the appropriate hours for that time zone.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Avoid the temptation to nap.
  • Exercise at your destination, during normal waking hours in that location.
  • Go to sleep later a few days before travel when going west; go to sleep earlier when going east.
  • If you are traveling for business, try to arrive early enough to give your body time to adjust: one day per time zone crossed.
  • If you arrive during the day, stay in the sun/daylight at your destination as much as possible:  traveling east, get morning light and get afternoon sun when you have traveled west.
  • If you can sleep on the plane at sleep time at your local destination, it may help to use an eye mask and ear plugs.
  • Light therapy; expose your eyes to bright light during the times you want to be awake.
  • Some people use a sleeping aid, like Ambien, to help them sleep during travel hours when the population at their destination would be sleeping. But that’s medicating and something you probably want to avoid or you wouldn’t be on this site.  It may not work anyway.
  • Take melatonin to help you sleep at the local time of your destination. Take it about half an hour before you want to sleep.  Avoid mixing alcohol with melatonin.
  • Try to get at least 4 hours of sleep in the destination sleep hours, or take short naps to try and get the same amount of sleep you would normally have during a 24-hour period.
  • Try to get less sleep before the trip instead of too much.
  • Wear sunglasses during the afternoon at your western destination; wear sunglasses in the early part of the day at your eastern destination–as you adjust.
  • When possible, fly in the day time and arrive at your destination at night.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

 

 

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