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Home :: Jet Lag

Jet Lag - Causes, Symptoms And Home Remedies For The Treatment of Jet Lag

What is Jet lag ?

Jet lag is a feeling of irritability, insomnia, indigestion and general disorientation. It occurs when the body's inner clock is out of synchronization with time cues it receives from the environment. Time cues include meal times, sunrise and sunset, and daily cycles of rest and activity. Our bodies have internal clocks that are far more powerful than we realize. The time you wake up, when you eat, and when you bed down for the night are all determined by this internal clock.

Most of the time, your body's clock corresponds to your daily schedule - which is why you wake up at the start of the day and go to sleep at the end. When you travel across time zones, however, all of a sudden your body's clock and the "external" clocks are out of sync. When you fly from New Delhi to Los Angels, for example, the clock in your hotel may say it's 7 p.m., but your body thinks that it's midnight and time to be sleeping.

Jet lag can make you tired and forgetful. It throws off your sleep schedule, so you may have trouble falling asleep or wake up too early. In some cases, people who have jet lag feel irritable, lose their appetites, or even have digestive problems such as heartburn or indigestion.

Symptoms of Jet lag

The feelings of disorientation encountered as a result of crossing time zones are known as jet lag. Common symptoms of Jet lag include

  • Fatigue and general tiredness.
  • Inability to sleep at night
  • Loss of concentration
  • Headaches and general malaise.

Jet-lag occurs when biological rhythms are disrupted as a result of rapid transitions across multiple time-zones. Such de synchronization of rhythms also occurs in nocturnal shift work employees who transfer to night shifts.

Causes of Jet lag

The main but not the only cause of jet lag is crossing time zones. Usually going east is worse than going west. Children under three don't seem to suffer jet lag badly as they are more adaptive and less set in their ways. Adults who adjust readily to changes of routine also seem less susceptible to jet lag. Those who are slaves to a fixed daily routine are often the worst sufferers.

Jet lag is actually caused by disruption of your "body clock" - a small cluster of brain cells that controls the timing of biological functions (circadian rhythms), including when you eat and sleep. The body clock is designed for a regular rhythm of daylight and darkness, so that it is thrown out of "sync" when it experiences daylight and darkness at the "wrong" times in a new time zone. The symptoms of Jet lag often persist for days while the internal body clock slowly adjusts to the new time zone.

Home remedies to cure Jet lag

You don't have to stay home to beat jet lag. Making a few changes in your habits.- before and after you travel - will help put things right. Here's how.

  • Stock up on sleep. Although you can't store sleep like pennies in a jar, getting extra sleep before you travel can go a long way toward helping you feel refreshed when you arrive.
  • Plan time to unwind. Sleep experts recommend timing your travel so that you arrive at your destination fairly early in the evening. This will give you time to have a good dinner and to unwind before going to bed. Try to make yourself go to bed at the new time.
    Of course, the rules are slightly different depending on the direction you're traveling. If you're flying east, it's going to be later when you arrive, so you may want to leave a little bit earlier in the day. Flying west, on the other hand, can cause you to lose a few hours, so you may want to book your flight a little bit later.
  • Stock up on fluids. Airline cabins are incredibly dry. Many people get dehydrated before they reach their destinations - and dehydration makes jet lag worse. Doctors recommend drinking a lot of water or juice before you leave home, as well as on the plane. Don't drink alcohol, however, because it can make dehydration worse.
  • Keep moving. It's not exactly easy to move around on the plane, but keeping active will help you stay energized and refreshed. At the very least you should walk the aisles periodically and do simple stretching exercises in your seat. When you arrive at your destination, take a little time to walk around or, if your hotel has a pool or gym, get in some exercise. Helps to prevent Jet lag.
  • Spend some time outdoors. Your body's internal clock is partially regulated by sunlight. Spending time outdoors when you arrive at your new destination will help your body clock adjust more quickly to the transition
  • The Anti-Jet-Lag Diet incorporates high-protein meals for breakfast and lunch because proteins stimulate the body to produce catacholamines, bio chemicals that it naturally produces during the active part of the daily cycle.
  • Showers. During extended stopovers on a long haul flight, showers are sometimes available. A shower not only freshens you up but gets the muscles and circulation going again and makes you feel much better for the rest of the flight.


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