Valuable tips to help manage and alleviate the effects of jet lag in your golden years

By following these tips and strategies, you can help minimise the impact of jet lag and ensure you enjoy your travel adventures to the fullest. Source: Getty Images.

Jet lag can be a challenging aspect of long-distance travel for individuals of any age. However, older travellers often find themselves more susceptible to its effects due to changes in sleep patterns and circadian rhythm. This article aims to provide valuable tips and strategies specifically tailored to older adults, to help minimise jet lag and allow you to enjoy your travel experience to the fullest. 

Jet lag occurs when our internal body clock (circadian rhythm) becomes disrupted due to rapid travel across multiple time zones. Symptoms may include fatigue, insomnia, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and digestive issues. Older adults may experience these symptoms more intensely, making it essential to prepare and take proactive steps to mitigate their impact. 

Pre-Trip Preparations: 

  1. Adjust sleep schedule: Gradually shift your sleep schedule a few days before departure to match the time zone of your destination, to help your body adapt to the new time zone.
  2. Stay hydrated: Begin hydrating well before your flight, and continue to drink plenty of water during the journey. Dehydration can exacerbate jet lag symptoms, so it’s crucial to keep yourself well-hydrated.
  3. Light exposure: Expose yourself to natural light during the day leading up to your trip. Natural light helps regulate your body’s internal clock and aids in adjusting to the new time zone.

During the Flight: 

  1. Stay active: Engage in light exercises, such as stretching and walking, during the flight. This promotes blood circulation and prevents stiffness.
  2. Adjust sleep schedule: If your destination aligns with nighttime, try to sleep on the plane. Use earplugs, eye masks, and neck pillows to create a comfortable environment conducive to sleep.
  3. Hygiene and comfort: Keep yourself refreshed by brushing your teeth, using face wipes, and changing into comfortable clothing during the flight. This can help signal to your body that it’s time to rest and reset.

Upon Arrival: 

  1. Exposure to daylight: Spend time outdoors in natural light to help reset your internal body clock. Daylight exposure aids in adjusting to the local time and can help combat drowsiness.
  2. Stay active: Engage in light physical activity or take a walk to increase alertness and promote circulation. This can help you adjust to the new time zone and reduce the effects of jet lag.
  3. Gradual adjustment: Ease into the local time zone by adjusting your meal and sleep times accordingly. This gradual transition allows your body to adapt more naturally.
  4. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol: While it may be tempting to rely on stimulants like coffee or alcohol to combat fatigue or induce sleep, they can disrupt your sleep patterns and hinder your adjustment to the new time zone. Opt for herbal teas or natural remedies instead.

Travelling is a wonderful opportunity to explore new destinations, experience diverse cultures, and create lifelong memories. By following these tips and strategies, you can help minimise the impact of jet lag and make the most of your adventures. Remember, everyone is different, so it’s important to listen to your body, be patient with the adjustment process, and consult with healthcare professionals if needed.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO: This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.



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