Monday, September 19, 2016

The Nightmare of Jet Lag

People sleeping in the airport

Business travel is tiring even for relatively short trips. The work of moving through airports, dealing with delays, handing your baggage, finding transportation at your destination city and getting to the meeting are a much greater stress than you ordinarily go through doing business at home. But when you add the problems introduced by jet lag, you face physical distress that can almost feel like you are becoming ill as your body reacts to the long distance travel.

So it’s a good idea to have some techniques ready to use to prevent jet lag when you are traveling overseas or across several time zones. Yes, you can get jet lag just traveling from the east to west coast domestically. Jet lag comes from the change in time zones and the adjustment your body has to make to deal with the new time cycles in that time zone.

We are not aware of it but our bodies are finely tuned to work at their best in the time zone of our homes. Our biological clocks are tuned to react to the time of day, the daylight and nighttime cycle, environmental factors and the magnetism of the local environment. We have an internal monitor that tells us when we should sleep or be active based on that internal clock.

When we travel to a new time zone, while our mind finds it peculiar that it is a new time of day that is out of sync with what we know, our bodies go through quite a dramatic adjustment to adjust to the new environment. That is why in a new time zone, you may not be able to sleep when it is 11 p.m. where you are because to your body, it may be the middle of the afternoon or the next morning.

The symptoms of jet lag are fatigue, lack of appetite, shortness of temper and even a feeling of mild nausea that comes from an internal system that has been thrown for a loop. So the best cure for jet lag is good preparation so you can ease into the change of location without too much anxiety. By reducing the effects of jet lag before they even happen, you make the potential that your business meetings will go well much more likely.

  • Start adjusting in advance. If you can put yourself on the time frame of your destination a few days in advance, the jet lag won’t be as severe. Start adjusting your sleep times and when you take your meals even before the trip begins so you are already “living in that time zone” before you even make the trip.

  • Keep a clean diet. Jet lag experts advise that you simplify your diet significantly for several days before the trip. Begin to reduce the amount of heavy foods, carbohydrates, sugars and fats in your diet and increase the level of fruits, vegetables and juices you consume. This will make your system more nimble and able to adjust to change.

  • Give yourself time on the other end. Try to make arrangements to arrive a day before your meetings so you have time in your hotel room to rest and prepare for the business objectives to be achieved. 

  • Eliminate physical stress sources. During the stressful time, try to cut down on physical stresses such as drinking or extreme physical exercise so your body has more reserves to handle the jet lag symptoms.
By thinking ahead about jet lag, you are taking the measures you need to take to eliminate a threat to the success of your business goals on this trip. So your work to take jet lag out of your business travel equation is just good business on your part and it will result in more success on the road for you and for your company.

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