Managing jet lag

by Dr. Chris Singh

Now that we are in the middle of winter, many of us will travel south in search of sun and sand.

In most cases, these sunny destinations are far away and so a plane ride is often required.

When crossing multiple time zones quickly, we can sometimes suffer from jet lag. This condition is defined as a temporary problem or disruption in sleep patterns.

Jet lag generally occurs when you cross more than two time zones quickly.

Essentially what happens is our body’s internal clock is still set at the original time zone and will take some time to sync with the new one.

Symptoms may include: fatigue (especially during the daytime); a disturbance in sleep patterns; and mood and concentration changes. These can be problematic when you return to work as a professional driver.

The good news is that the symptoms of jet lag usually subside on their own within a few days of being in the new time zone. There are a few simple steps that you can take to help minimize the effects of jet leg.

First of all, due to the fact that our internal clock is heavily influenced by daylight, regulating the amount of daylight that you are exposed to in the new time zone may help your internal clock adjust gradually.

Research has shown that dehydration increases the risk of jet lag. It is important to stay hydrated while traveling on planes, as the air on-board tends to be very dry.

Another common remedy for jet leg is melatonin supplementation. Melatonin is a chemical in our brains that signals it is time to sleep. By taking melatonin at specific times, you may be able to reset your internal clock.

Finally, some individuals start to modify their sleep schedules before they go on a trip. For example, if you will be traveling to a destination that is three hours ahead of your home time zone, try gradually staying up later the week before you leave.

As you can see, jet lag is more of an inconvenience than a serious medical condition. I personally feel that it is a small price to pay for the sun, sand and beaches of vacation destinations.

Until next month, drive safely.


Dr. Christopher H. Singh runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at the 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont. He can be reached at 519-421-2024. 

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