Summertime means travel time: How to overcome jet lag
At long last, the time has come: the long-awaited long-distance trip is just around the corner, and you are full of anticipation to make new, exciting experiences on vacation. It's not surprising that you initially don't think about jet lag at all - only to then arrive at your destination and have your body remind you. Suddenly you have to adjust to a completely different rhythm and feel tired and listless - hello jet lag! Do you want to know how to overcome your jet lag and fully enjoy your time on vacation? With our tips, your body will quickly find its inner balance again.
What is jet lag?
If you've ever taken a long-distance trip, you know all too well what the consequences of crossing time zones mean for your body: a nasty jet lag. This can really spoil the start of your dream vacation: instead of being in a good mood and fit to explore the vacation destination, you only want to have your peace and quiet. For you to finally immerse yourself in the foreign culture and collect exciting memories, this jet lag has to vanish quickly. But how can you overcome jet lag? Since jet lag is not a serious illness, but rather a condition, the battle against jet lag is quickly won with the right tips.
Why do I get jet lag?
You don't automatically get jet lag whenever you get on a plane. For example, if you fly from Zurich to Munich, you won't feel any different when you arrive. This is because you stay in the same time zone. For long-distance travel to exotic vacation destinations, however, the situation is different: Within a short period of time, you'll cross several time zones at once. And that really messes up your internal clock - say hello to jet lag. And once it's there, you'll immediately notice a drop in your personal performance. Even if you would like to jump out of the plane full of energy and it frustrates you that your body doesn't play along right away: Give it the time it needs to adjust and overcome jet lag. All our mental and physical functions follow a regular 24-hour rhythm. When this biorhythm gets out of sync, it's normal to feel sluggish at first. By the way, long-distance travel to the East proves to be more problematic for the body, because here your normal daily rhythm is shortened. A time zone change to the west, on the other hand, lengthens your day, something your inner clock can handle better.
How do I know if I have jet lag?
Because jet lag initially confuses your body by upsetting your normal biorhythms, it manifests itself through a number of symptoms. These symptoms can be both physical and mental and are caused by your body having to adjust to a new day-night rhythm. Although jet lag symptoms can feel different for each of us, the following signs are typical:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Concentration problems
- Headaches and migraines
- Lack of drive
- Severe fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Irritability up to depression
With these symptoms, it's hard to enjoy your vacation. But don't worry, jet lag doesn't last forever.
How long does jet lag last?
In any case, the hormonal processes that control your internal clock need a little time to adjust to the new time zone. But how long the symptoms last and how quickly you can overcome your jet lag depends on two things: Your general health, and how many time zones you've crossed - and whether you've flown east or west. If you have a slight time difference of less than three hours, you will probably experience only very mild jet lag symptoms. If you cross multiple time zones, such as flying from Germany to Japan, your jet lag will be more pronounced. You can roughly assume that your body needs about one day to acclimatize for every hour of time difference.
How can I overcome jet lag quickly?
Palm trees, long sandy beaches, or lively bazaars - a long-distance vacation to an exotic destination offers temptations everywhere. To make the most of your time in paradise, you'll want to get rid of jet lag quickly. With these practical tips, you'll be able to overcome your jet lag quickly:
1. Before departure: change bedtime
If you want your internal clock to make a smoother transition to the new time zone, it's best to start before departure. A few days before your trip, change your sleep pattern to match that of your destination country. Go to bed a little earlier if you're flying east - move your bedtime forward an hour each day. If you're flying west, do the opposite and move your bedtime back a bit at a time.
2. Live according to local time
Even if all you want to do is sleep, you should make an effort to adjust to the day/night rhythm in your destination country as soon as you arrive. This way, your biorhythm will adjust more quickly than if you give in to your initial tiredness and sleep the whole day away, only to be wide awake at night.
3. Soak up plenty of daylight
Staying at an all-inclusive hotel is especially relaxing. And even if you love your hotel - don't spend all your time in your room but soak up as much daylight as you can. This helps your body to adjust its biorhythm more quickly. It's best to take a walk every day and use the time to discover your surroundings. After just a few days, you will notice your energy levels skyrocketing.
4. Take it easy
To overcome jet lag, your body needs more rest and relaxation at the beginning of your vacation. It is therefore better to postpone the strenuous climbing tour to a later date and plan a few quieter activities for the first few days.
5. Discover vacation at home
Switzerland has wonderfully idyllic natural scenery to offer, just begging you to take a homeland vacation. Not only will you save yourself all the stress at the airport, but you won't even have to worry about jet lag 😉.