How To Cope With Jet-lag By Victoria Ugarte

My introduction to Albuquerque, New Mexico, came after a grueling 12-hour overnight transit from Maui, Hawaii. Bleary eyed after only an hours worth of sleep on the flight, stepping out into the Albuquerque heat was like walking into a furnace. Definitely no island breezes here!

Walking like zombies to the Hertz rental car premises, my husband and I picked up our Toyota Camry, the silver ‘chariot’ that would transport us on our exploration and discovery of New Mexico. At the rate we were going, we’d be lucky to make it out of the car park.

Managing to drive in circles despite the use of our trusted GPS, we arrived at the historic and charming Old Town of Albuquerque at lunchtime. An hour past the hour we were due. Parking the car, we made a beeline for a very quaint and atmospheric eatery called the Church Street Cafe. A live guitarist gave the place an awesome vibe. However, after missing my mouth twice whilst drinking my iced tea, and Peter falling asleep upright and in mid chew, I knew that we were both seriously jet-lagged.

What is Jet-lag?
Take heart. Thankfully, jet lag is a temporary condition. It’s what happens to most of us when we fly across several time zones in a short period of time and our internal clock gets out of sync with the external environment. Our sleep-wake pattern gets disrupted because our sunshine and local timetables are dictated by the pattern in our previous location.
How do we know when we have Jet-lag?
  • We feel fatigued, our sleep patterns become irregular, and we sometimes suffer from insomnia.
  • We experience disorientation, confusion, and irritability.
  • Others may even develop headaches, or suffer from a mild depression.
  • Some may get constipation or diarrhea.
  • What can we do about it?
Drink plenty of water! Dehydration becomes a real problem when traveling as it contributes greatly to jet-lag. This makes sense when you consider that the human body consists of 61.8 percent water by weight. Keep away from alcoholic beverages and caffeine on your flight, both of which cause dehydration.

Keep moving throughout your flight. Exercise your legs while sitting and move around the plane the moment the seat belt sign has been switched off.

Why not break your trip up into smaller segments? This will help your body clock adjust slowly, instead of giving it the sledgehammer approach. Stay overnight in another city. Rest. Relax. Take it easy. It’s all about being kind to yourself. Of course we’ve forgotten how to do that, haven’t we.

Adjust your sleeping hours to match the destination time. In fact, you can already start doing this on the plane. When you get to your destination, have a refreshing shower and change into clean clothes instead of going to bed. Go out for a walk instead.

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