After a 24 hour journey including 3 flights, long layovers, a ferry, a train, a bus and a car ride, I arrived on the Sunshine Coast, Canada.

With a 9 hour time difference, I experienced the well known and expected Jet Lag. If you’re a frequent traveler, you know what I mean and you understand what it’s like to cross time zones and get hit with the hammer (or, jet lag). It’s predictable and annoying, especially if you’re usually pretty energetic like me, but there are ways to help you reduce the the time it takes for you to adjust and recover.

These 5 ways to beat jet lag have helped me to feel pretty good right away and even find my normal energy back within only a few days.

What Jet Lag really is.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary,  jet lag is a condition that is characterized by various psychological and physiological effects (such as fatigue and irritability), occurs following long flight through several time zones, and probably results from disruption of circadian rhythms in the human body.

Basically, jet lag is a series of symptoms that happen to us when our internal body clock is disrupted. This internal clock is essentially a group of cells in our brain, called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN. These cells function as a master circadian pacemaker controlling the timing of the sleep-wake cycle. They tell other parts of the body what time it is and what to do, and they keep us in tune with the pattern of day and night. During jet lag, abrupt shifts in the day and night cycle temporarily desynchronize the SCN, resulting in increased sleepiness and impaired daytime functioning.

How Jet Lag affects us?

If you’ve experienced it, you know all too well how it affects you. Common symptoms include:

  • General malaise
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep (i.e. insomnia)
  • Early waking
  • Impaired performance
  • Reduced alertness and difficulty focusing
  • Increased irritability
  • Digestive and bowel movement problems

If that’s not bad enough, symptoms are worse the farther you travel, and travelling east is always worse than travelling west. Going east generally results in difficulty falling asleep and going west comes with difficulty maintaining sleep.

On top of that, jet lag can also get worse by the aeroplane itself, due to poor air quality, lower humidity, or cramped conditions and being forced to sit still for a long flight makes the body ache.

How long does Jet Lag last?

This varies for everyone, but a good rule of thumb is that it takes about a day per time zone travelled to recover. For my flight to Canada, this would have taken me 9 full days and I can happily say that I didn’t need that long at all.

How to beat Jet Lag easily?

Here’s exactly how I did in this video. These 5 ways can help you next time you fly across the world.

Have you enjoyed watching the video? What is your best way to beat jet lag?

Enjoy your flight!

Rachel Smets

TEDx Speaker, Author, Culture Trainer at Rachel Smets at Rachel Smets Coaching
To help expats anywhere in the world, I wrote the book 'Living Abroad Successfully: What, When, Where, How', an Amazon's Bestseller.Also, author of 'Awaken Your Confidence: 15 People share their Journey to Success'.
As an expat myself, I have been living and working in various countries, speak 6 languages, and experienced many challenges that I learned to turn around into new opportunities.
Workshops in cultural diversity and keynote speaking is what I enjoy doing.
I love to inspire people and help them to become their best selves! Life changes, and so can you!

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