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Time zone, jet lag: how to (re)adapt your sleep when you travel?

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Sleep and travel don't mix well when you regularly cross several time zones: the famous jet lag can be very disruptive. If you're looking for ways to overcome this problem, which makes you tired in every sense of the word, check out the following tips and tricks for surviving jet lag, on both departure and return!

Jet Lag: What is it?

Before tackling any subject, we are often told that we need to define its terminology. And for jet lag, it's the same thing! Jet lag is a problem related to our biological clock following a flight in an airplane crossing at least three time zones. It's very precise! This disorder is caused by the fact that our body naturally aligns itself with the local time in terms of rhythm. Whether it's for meals, sleep or even business, everything is in the local time zone! So, knowing that the temporal markers, and in particular the period when the sun is up, are changing, you’ll necessarily be affected!

The effects of jet lag: not serious but annoying!

Let's first clarify one thing, jet lag affects everyone, and the symptoms vary depending on the direction of travel. Those flying East, for example, may find it harder to fall asleep and wake up. Conversely, those travelling westward may fall asleep at night, while waking up much earlier than expected in the morning. These same effects also affect people on equivalent trips differently. Seniors, for example, will take longer to recover!


But among the symptoms experienced by travellers, there are constants:

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty staying alert

  • Headaches

  • Digestive problems

  • Decreased patience

 

Sad and unhappy woman at the airport with canceled flight

In the end, jet lag is far from being serious in itself, but it can significantly affect your trip if you want to fully enjoy it!

Tips for fighting jet lag

If the inconveniences caused by the jet lag are tiring, there are some tips to limit or even cancel them! To do this, you’ll need to establish certain habits as early as the week before your departure.

In the seven days preceding your trip:

  • Gradually adjust the time of your watch to that of your destination, for example, by adding or subtracting one hour per day. Unconsciously, your body will register this gradual change.

  • At the same time, you can also shift the time you go to bed and the time you get up each day by a few minutes, increasing the time a little more each day.

  • Also take advantage of this time to rest as much as possible before you leave so that you don't accumulate fatigue before and while you travel.

  • According to the Guide du Routard, the evening before boarding, go to bed:

    • One to two hour(s) earlier if you are traveling towards the East.

    • Conversely, one to two hour(s) later than usual if you are westbound.

  • Avoid alcoholic and/or stimulant beverages (coffee, tea, energy drinks) before and during the flight.

 

Bald bearded man in suit with backpack reads information at airport

During the flight:

  • Set your watch to the time zone of your destination when boarding.

  • On the other hand, if your trip is a quick round trip of up to 4 days, keep your watch set to the time zone of your home.

  • Avoid vitamin C, tobacco, and rich meals at all costs. Eat light!

  • On the plane, relax as much as you can, even if it means bringing the perfect sleeping gear (mask, earplugs, etc.).

  • Take melatonin if you travel at night, to be fresher the next day. However, this is a complex and controversial method. This hormone, naturally secreted by the pineal gland, regulates sleep and wakefulness. This hormone is to be used within a very defined framework, and before any consumption, it’s imperative to consult a doctor!



Learn more about melatonin


Man sleeping during flight

As far as day or night travel is concerned, it’ll be according to your experience and personal preferences. However, the majority of travellers consider day flights to be less problematic than night flights in terms of the effects of jet lag.

Once on location

It’ll be important to allow your body to adapt to the rhythm of your destination! To do this:

  • Follow the local hourly cycle as soon as you get off the plane. So if you are tempted to take a nap when you arrive, don't! It’ll be harder for you to adjust.

  • Also, set local bedtime, wake up time and eating times as soon as you arrive.

  • Expose yourself to the sun reasonably, and limit your sun exposure in the evening.

  • Stay reasonably active within 24 hours of your arrival.

 

Man traveling waiting for something holding a suitcase and phone in each of his hands

In short: jet lag is unpleasant, but there are solutions!

So jet lag can have a significant impact on your travel, whether it’s professional or personal. However, by preparing yourself adequately with the right practices before your departure, during your flight, and once at your destination, you can greatly limit the harmful effects of jet lag on your own person. You’ve already applied these good habits before leaving on a previous trip, and your sleep did not improve once you got there? Your mattress may be to blame! If this is the case, don't wait any longer to discover our complete line of foam mattresses!

The Polysleep mattress helps to have a perfect sleep


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