For those who have traveled, particularly on long international flights, you know that jet lag is no joke. Sometimes, being tired is only the tip of the iceberg, and your body can end up experiencing all types of wear and tear ranging from diarrhea to anxiety. In fact, the occurrence of serious jet lag side effects is often referred to as Jet Lag Disorder.
Read on as we explore the many side effects of jet lag, and what you can do to prevent and support them.
It’s just about a given that you’ll experience a night or two of disrupted sleep when flip-flopping your time zones completely. But, when sleep disturbances persist for days or weeks, it can become a serious problem. If after a few days you aren’t adjusted to your new time zone and are feeling excessive daytime sleepiness, are waking frequently during the night, or experiencing an inability to fall asleep, consider speaking with a doctor about possible medication or supplementation. Studies have found that an appropriate dose of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone, can often be very helpful when crossing five or more time zones.
Given the link between sleep disorders and anxiety, it makes sense that insomnia caused by jet lag can similarly lead to increased anxiety and nervousness. If you’re dealing with travel and jet-lag related anxiety that persists beyond a few days or if your anxiety is affecting your quality of life, it’s important to work with a professional to get your sleep back on track.
Constipation and Diarrhea
Unfortunately, there are many factors that make constipation and/or diarrhea quite common as a side effect of jet lag. When traveling, it’s easy to become dehydrated due to low humidity on airplanes and the simple fact that many people don’t drink enough water while traveling. Dehydration can quickly lead to constipation.
On the flip side, travel-induced exhaustion can have the opposite effect, causing stomach upset, gas and diarrhea. We recommend being prepared for the worst when you travel – consider packing DiaResQ for fast, safe and effective diarrhea relief. DiaResQ provides nutrients and immune factors that work with your body to help rapidly restore normal intestinal function and relieve diarrhea, so you can get on with your trip.
Dizziness and Sweating
Fatigue, lack of sleep and dehydration can also lead to dizziness and increased sweating. It’s key to drink plenty of water and go into long, international flights well rested. If you do start to feel dizzy or dehydrated, getting electrolytes into your system can help you to recover and prevent your symptoms from worsening. Common sports drinks are not your only option, keep an eye out for healthier alternatives like coconut water.
How to Prevent Side Effects of Jet Lag
Keep in mind that jet lag is caused by a rapid and unnatural change to your circadian rhythm, meaning that the body’s internal clock is disrupted. The brain becomes confused and has a hard time catching up to the new time zone, so anything and everything you can do to minimize this impact will help to prevent many side effects of jet lag.
If you are traveling east, slowly shifting your bedtime an hour earlier for several nights before you leave can help to decrease the impact. The better rested and healthier you are going into long travel the better, so do your best to eat well, stay rested and partake in regular exercise the weeks leading up to travel. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before, during and after your flight can make a big difference in staying hydrated and not further disrupting sleep, along with drinking plenty of pure water.
Last but not least, try adapting to the local schedule as quickly as possible. Expose yourself to sunlight during the day, stay up until local bedtime and push yourself to get in a little bit of light activity the day you arrive. All of these little changes can add up and help to prevent the many possible side effects of jet lag, and ensure you enjoy your travels to the fullest.