One of the annoying things about flying to a brand-new destination in the world is jet lag. One is meant to have a great time when one gets there, one has it all planned out, but instead one is tired, nauseous, and without energy. Jet lag is caused by rapid long-distance traveling around the world into very different time zones. This interferes with one's body's circadian rhythm.
When one arrives it may feel like nighttime when its day time there (and vice versa). It is something that one should keep in mind if one is traveling to very different parts of the world. New Zealand has some of the longest flights in the world, so one can expect jet lag if one is flying to far-flung destinations like New Zealand or Australia.
What Jet Lag Is And What Causes it
Jet lag is a chronobiological problem, as one's body is constantly working on a rhythm of when to sleep and when to wake up. The circadian rhythm is also known as the body clock. The rhythm helps to dictate times for eating, sleeping, hormone regulation, and even body temperature variations. But as one flies around the world, the environment that this body clock is set to no longer corresponds to the new environment.
One may be not able to sleep at all on the first night at one's destination. It can take days for one's sleep patterns to come right. One can find oneself waking up at strange times - like very early in the morning (like 4 am) or very late (like 1 pm).
- West to East: Feels Earlier Than Local Time (E.g. Flying From New York to London)
- East to West: Feels Later Than Local Time (E.g. Flying London to New York)
Generally, travelers find it more difficult when traveling east - like from New York to London. Flying eastwards causes things to feel earlier.
- Recovery: Can Take Days
- Age: Jet Lag Gets Worse With Age
Travel Fatigue And Tips For Jet Lag
In addition, humidity levels are low in planes. If you don't drink enough water during your flight, you can get slightly dehydrated. Dehydration may also contribute to some symptoms of jet lag.Mayo Clinic
Jet lag can be made worse by travel fatigue. Besides the loss of sleep caused by flying and traveling all through the night, one must also deal with disorientation, cramped space, lack of movement in the aircraft, and dehydration caused by dry air.
To manage jet lag, get plenty of rest before flying and if one is arriving at a meeting, try to arrive early to get some rest beforehand. There are plenty of more tips to keep in mind to avoid jet lag - but sometimes it's just going to be a rough couple of days.
- Stay Hydrated: The Air Is Dry On The Flight, Remember to Stay Hydrated and Drink
- Sleep on the Plane: Try to Sleep on the Plane if its Nighttime at One's Destination
Air Pressure and Jet Lag
One of the influences on jet lag is the change in cabin pressure. According to Mayo Clinic, some research shows that changes in cabin pressure and high altitudes associated with air travel may contribute to some symptoms of jet lag. This holds true regardless if one is traveling across time zones.
- Tip: Fly In A New Carbon Fiber Aircraft Like The Dreamliner
To take advantage of this knowledge then try to book one's flight in a modern carbon-fiber aircraft - like the 787 Dreamliner. The Dreamliner's carbon-fiber structure enabled the aircraft to be pressurized at a much higher level than other older aluminum aircraft.
- Dreamliner: Has A Higher Cabin Pressure
Greater cabin pressure lowers the cabin altitude and makes passengers feel better both during and after the flight. If feels like traveling at 6,000 feet altitude instead of 8,000 feet with most aircraft, this means there's more oxygen in the bloodstream and one is likely to get fewer headaches and fatigue. When one arrives at one's destination, one's body should be able to adjust to the new time zone faster.
- Bonus: The Dreamliner Has a Better Air Filtration System With More Humidity
There's another bonus of flying in modern aircraft like the Dreamliner. It also has a better air filtration system that increases the humidity so that people are less likely to get dried skin or chapped lips.