If you have a trip right around the corner, you may be getting ready to hop on a flight. Whether you’re visiting loved ones or going on a much-needed vacation to see the world, flying gets you to your destination quickly and safely. Unfortunately, many of us only realize after boarding that we’ve forgotten one crucial detail — the possibility of jet lag.
If you’ve dealt with jet lag before, you understand how important it is to minimize its symptoms. Luckily, depending on your route, you may be able to avoid these feelings of jet lag more effectively!
Take a look at the following facts about east-to-west jet lag.
- Is Jet Lag Worse Going East or West?
- Why Is Jet Lag Worse Coming Home?
- Is Jet Lag Avoidable?
- Beat Jet Lag With Mobile IV Medics
Is Jet Lag Worse Going East or West?
Although you can’t choose the direction your flight departs, you can predict your jet lag symptoms based on your destination’s route. The general rule of thumb when traveling by plane is that it is better to travel west than east for jet lag.
Because of your body’s reaction to the earth’s rotation, you’ll experience worse jet lag traveling west to east than the reverse. The earth rotates from west to east, so when you fly west, you almost travel back in time.
For example, say you have a morning flight from Los Angeles to New York. Although you arrive at 8 a.m. local time, your internal clock still thinks it’s 5 a.m. You may feel tired long before your usual bedtime and struggle to adjust to the time difference. On the other hand, if you take a similar flight from New York to L.A., you’ll arrive at 8 a.m. local time while your internal clock thinks it’s 11 a.m.
Starting east of your destination means your internal clock is set to a later time, which is easier for your circadian rhythm to adapt to after landing.
Why Is Jet Lag Worse Coming Home?
Everyone experiences jet lag differently and factors like the distance and direction you fly and the number of time zones you cross can make the experience better or worse. If you only plan to spend a few days or a week at your destination before flying back home, your symptoms may feel stronger than others.
You can typically expect to experience one day of jet lag per time zone you travel by plane. The farther you travel, the longer and more intense your symptoms are likely to feel.
Depending on how far you traveled and in what direction, you may not have enough time to recover after landing before taking off again. On shorter trips, you may spend the whole time getting used to the new time zone before returning home. This short time can explain why your symptoms might feel worse when you return home, especially if you’re traveling from west to east. Your body does not have enough time to adapt, meaning that your symptoms can last your entire trip and only end days after returning home.
Is Jet Lag Avoidable?
If you have a trip coming up, there are some effective steps to take before your flight to minimize jet lag altogether!
What Is the Best Time to Fly to Avoid Jet Lag?
Adjusting your sleep to your destination’s time zone is key to avoiding jet lag symptoms. Sleep is a natural tool to rewire your brain and body to adapt to a new location easier, so you don’t feel as jet-lagged upon arrival.
To trick yourself into adapting to a new timezone, try to balance your sleep schedule and your flight. Travel and airports can take a lot out of you — try to book a flight that will get in around your usual bedtime so you can go right to sleep.
If you have an especially long flight, choosing a time you would typically be sleeping may let you completely skip the jet lag symptoms! If you can sleep through your flight, your body won’t know the difference between your home and your destination. A good night’s sleep means no jet lag to worry about!
Tips for Minimizing Jet Lag
If your flight takes off in the middle of the day, some preparation can still help you minimize your jet lag symptoms as much as possible. Other ways you can avoid jet lag traveling west to east include the following:
- Get some vitamin D: Soaking up the sun is an excellent way for your body to adapt to your new surroundings. Spend some time outside when you reach your destination to reset your internal clock.
- Prioritize hydration: Long-haul trips can leave you dehydrated much quicker than usual, making you feel more jet-lagged after landing. Drinking plenty of water before, during and after your flight will help you feel fully rejuvenated so you can enjoy your trip as soon as you arrive.
- Avoid old timezone habits: It may be tempting to take a nap when you land at your destination. As easy as it is to fall into your daily home routine, try to adapt your schedule to your new time zone. Sleeping and eating at an appropriate time for your destination will help your body feel less jet-lagged in no time.
- Take melatonin: Falling asleep at an appropriate time in your new time zone might be challenging. If you’re unable to fall asleep, consider taking melatonin supplements to fix your sleep schedule. You should start feeling tired a few hours after you take them.
- Try IV therapy: IV therapy will get the perfect combination of fluids and vitamins into your system to combat jet lag symptoms as quickly as possible. You can adapt to your new destination in no time with these essential nutrients going straight into your bloodstream. Enjoying your vacation has never been easier!
Beat Jet Lag With Mobile IV Medics
Get a head start on your travel plans with the help of Mobile IV Medics! Our Jet Lag IV Drip Package provides you with anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory medicine, vitamin B12 and vitamin B complex. This package can help you avoid fatigue, motion sickness and many other common jet lag symptoms so you feel good as new when you arrive at your destination.
You can make the most of your IV appointment by including add-ons to your Jet Lag IV Drip Package. Additional vitamins, medicines, special blends and nutrients act immediately to leave you feeling completely rejuvenated.
Contact us today with any questions about our services and appointments.
About the author
Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D.
Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D. is a licensed pharmacist and co-owner of Mobile IV Medics. With over 16 years of healthcare experience, Brad is bringing his expertise and passion for patient care to the Mobile IV Medics patient population. Prior to Mobile IV Medics, Brad worked in varying areas including both direct patient care and hospital leadership at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, nationwide health system pharmacy consulting for Comprehensive Pharmacy Services (CPS), and professor of pharmacy at the USC School of Pharmacy. He holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Arizona, a pharmacy practice residency from USC, and a lean six sigma green belt from Johns Hopkins.