Jet Lag Reaches New Levels Due to Longer Flights — Total visitor numbers to Bali are expected to increase by 26.3%, to 18.2 million in 2020, according to a major recent report released by Hotel Investment Strategies. That’s a lot of weary arrivals to our island paradise.
Today Bali is a popular global hub and that means travelers are skipping multiple stop routes meaning longer, grueling flights over numerous time zones. Next-generation jets from Boeing and Airbus are aiming for higher fuel efficiency that will enable flights stretching above 20 hours. But what does that mean for a passenger’s health?
Medical specialists call it “circadian dysrhythmia,” the name for the “internal body clock” that regulates the 24-hour cycle of biological processes and commonly referred to as jet lag.
How to Reduce the Effects of Jet Lag
According to sleep professionals at Tuck online, since jet lag cannot be avoided or prevented entirely, there are multiple ways to minimize the symptoms and help your body adjust accordingly upon arriving in a new time zone.
Be sure to be as well rested as possible to prevent becoming overtired prior to departing and try to book flights that align well with your sleep schedule to lessen any disruptions. If possible, select seats with additional room for added comfort or those near the window to avoid unnecessary disruption. And check with a medical professional about treatments that require a strict schedule such as insulin or titrated medications.
Avoid large, heavy meals. Instead eat smaller, lighter options with protein and avoid or minimize alcohol or caffeine consumption as both can disrupt sleep. The sugar in alcohol can cause dips in blood sugar levels that bring about arousals and sleep fragmentation.
One of the best things you can do is drink plenty of water to remain properly hydrated. And carry items that can aid and assist in sleep and rest on the plane such as eye masks, earplugs, travel pillows, noise cancelling headphones, quiet, soothing music or anything personal that assists in normal sleep onset.
Get up, move around, or stretch either in the airport during a layover or during the flight to avoid sitting too long. Sitting for extended periods can leave a person at higher risk for blood clot formation.
Consider reducing the use of your must have digital devices and just relax in a supine position with eye masks and ear plugs where they should be. Part of regulating circadian rhythms is to get in the habit of signaling to your brain’s clock and your body when it’s time for bed and when it’s time to wake.
In a modern world, we are exposed to quite a lot of artificial “blue” light (even though it looks white), a daylight signaler to our minds. Be it LEDs, fluorescent lighting, or the backlit screens of our portable devices, it’s easier for our bodies to get confused. It’s even more confusing when your body clock thinks it’s halfway around the world.
If arriving to Bali at night, make proper arrangements for sleep while trying to maintain normal sleep hygiene as at home. Aim to get as much sleep as would normally occur within a 24-hour period; it is recommended to try and get at least a minimum of four hours of sleep on local Bali time. This “anchor sleep” is thought to assist the body’s internal clock to adjust to the new time zone.
Melatonin may be useful in obtaining sleep. Taken approximately 30 minutes before bedtime, melatonin serves to relax and prepare the body for sleep. Even a small dose of melatonin (0.5mg) can be utilized for effectiveness.
Medications that assist with sleep onset may be helpful, but only under the guidance of appropriate medical personnel. If they are not used ordinarily, use of sleeping medication may actually add to the severity of jet lag symptoms.
Still having trouble getting to sleep and you feel your holiday is slipping by? Come by for a quick chat with a BIMC doctor.