Melatonin, a natural hormone in the body, regulates your sleep and wakefulness. Jet lag tablets can boost the hormone level in your body in the evening to make you sleepy and reduce the jet lag effect.
Melatonin, a natural hormone in the body, regulates your sleep and wakefulness. Jet lag tablets can boost the hormone level in your body in the evening to make you sleepy and reduce the jet lag effect.... Read more
Jet lag is a common problem that occurs when crossing several time zones. It is characterised by disruption to your sleeping and eating patterns and although it is not serious, it can take some time to recover and disrupt your travel plans.
The circadian rhythm is the body’s internal 24-hour cycle which plays an important role in sleeping pattern, appetite, hormone levels and body temperature. When crossing several time zones at once, the circadian rhythm is disrupted and forced to adapt to a different schedule, which can leave you feeling tired when you need to be awake, restless when you should be asleep, ill-tempered, and hungry at odd times of the day and night.
The symptoms of jet lag include:
Jet lag is usually worse when travelling from West to East, as the body finds it harder to adjust to shorter days than to longer days.
Most people only experience jet lag when crossing 3 or more time zones. When travelling across 5 time zones or more, it can take up to 6 days to feel normal again.
The most common treatment for jet lag is melatonin, available on prescription and sold under the brand name Circadin. Using Melatonin for jet lag is an 'off-label' use of the medication. This means that the original license does not cover this application. Extending a license can be an expensive process, which manufacturers often avoid. Despite being off-label, doctors are able to prescribe Melatonin for jet lag when it is the most appropriate treatment.
The original license for Melatonin was for use in insomnia. Melatonin is the name of the hormone produced naturally by the body that regulates your sleeping pattern. Melatonin levels increase at nightfall, causing you to feel sleepy, and decrease as the sun rises, signalling that it is time to wake up. When crossing several time zones, your normal sleeping pattern is disrupted. Taking a melatonin supplement can help you to fall asleep at the time of your destination, and help keep you asleep for around 8 hours. This will help you to wake up feeling refreshed, minimising disruption to your travel plans.
Regulating your sleep pattern can ease the transition between time zones. When you board a plane for a long flight, set your watch to the time of your destination. Try and sleep at the right times, and get up and move around if you feel sleepy during the daytime hours. When you arrive at your destination, try to stay awake until 10 pm and avoid napping in the day. Staying well hydrated and avoiding alcohol will help to relieve the lethargy of jet lag and boost your general wellbeing. Avoid heavy, fatty meals, and food that are high in sugar, and limit the amount of caffeine you drink. You may also wish to try taking a melatonin substitute to help you fall asleep at the right time.
The best way to quickly overcome jet lag is to try and adjust to your new regime. Be strict with yourself by avoiding napping in the day and staying awake until 10 pm. Try and eat meals regularly at the usual times of day, avoiding too much caffeine, alcohol or sugar. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and boost your energy levels.
When flying, it is a good idea to try and sleep during the night-time hours of your destination. This will give your body a headstart in adjusting to the new time zone. Bringing earplugs and an eye mask can help with this.
It is not advised to rely on sleeping pills to relieve jet lag, as these can lead to independence and are unlikely to aid your sleeping pattern in the long term. However, melatonin supplements are used widely to aid with jetlag. Rather than having a sedative effect, these supplement the body’s natural melatonin levels, tricking the body into thinking it is time to go to sleep and helping to keep it asleep for around 8 hours.
Most people will experience some jet lag when crossing multiple time zones at once. However, some people seem to find adjusting a lot easier than others, with some frequent flyers saying they never get used to it. Young children often seem to suffer the least, as they can adapt readily to a new routine, generally experience less stress and find it easier to fall asleep. Those who are used to sticking to a strict routine and are bothered by changes to their routine may find it harder to adjust. The severity of jet lag depends on the length of the flight, the number of time zones crossed, the direction of travel, and other variables including the number of intermediate stops and changes in the cabin pressure.
The circadian rhythm acts like an internal 24-hour clock regulating sleeping pattern, appetite, hormone levels and body temperature. It is the body’s circadian rhythm that is disoriented when crossing several time zones, resulting in changes to your appetite, sleeping pattern and mood.
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