Boarding a plane and crossing different time zones can leave your brain a little bit confused about timing. Long haul flights, specially going eastbound, are more common to cause sleep problems, because it’s harder to advance your sleep time than to delay it.
The circadian rhythm, the body’s own internal clock, signals when to stay awake and when to sleep. This complex system involves a variety of hormones and neurotransmitters that work together to drive alertness and sleep. Once, you change your time zone, your body's clock is still synced to your original time zone, instead of to the time zone where you've travelled – that’s what we call jet leg. Jet leg causes disturbed sleep — such as insomnia, early waking or excessive sleepiness; daytime fatigue; difficulty concentrating or functioning and mood changes. All these symptoms combined, decreases considerably your work performance whilst you are traveling. But no matter where you fly, you can take a few steps to help your body to adjust and soften jet leg’s impact.
Alertness Solutions, headed by Mark Rosekind, PhD, a former NASA's Fatigue Countermeasures Program, conducted a study of travellers on trips crossing more than two time zones and lasting two to four days. According to the findings we can suggest:
- Exercise in the morning:
According to a study made by the travellers that exercised in the morning, performed an amazing 61% better than non-exercisers. Exercising helps your body to recalibrate hormones keeping awake during the day and sleepy during evenings.
- Midday meetings
The study suggests that midday is the prime time for your brain while you are jet lagged. This way you can perform better without sounding sleepy or looking tired.
- Be sleep-ready
Don’t forget to include in your necessaire a:
- sleep mask: to make your sleep time darker as possible. Stimulating your brain to sleep.
- sleep essential oil: to encourage your limbic system to relax your mind, initiating sleep process.
- massage oil: to relax your body. A body massage releases relaxing neurotransmitters that will make your body ready to sleep.
- Stay away from alcohol
Alcohol can put you to sleep easily. However, as your body clears it from your system, it can also cause symptoms that disturb sleep, like nightmares, sweats, and headache. The reason is alcohol is one of greatest suppressors of REM (deep) sleep.
While we advise to try to not take a nap during the day, forcing your brain to sleep only at evenings can help you to set you new time zone. But if you are really wiped out, try to take a short 10-20 minute nap.
These five tips will improve your sleeping while traveling jetlagged, but if you need more help, just book a Sleep Map Appointment at our St James store.