Jetlag affects most people to a small or large degree after crossing more than one time-zone. As a rule the longer your flight the more extensive and troublesome jetlag appears to be. The symptoms of jetlag appear to be more pronounced for some people after travelling from east to west, or when several flights are undertaken in succession, but disorientation occurs whenever you travel by air for extended periods of time.
Those people with fixed routines appear to be affected to a greater extent than children or people whose lives are less structured. However, flight crews who travel extensively may still suffer from extended fatigue and other symptoms associated with jetlag, and require significantly longer periods of time to recover from long flights when they do not have enough time on the ground between flights.
Other contributing factors include dehydration due to the dry air that is circulated during a flight, increased air pressure once cruising altitude is reached, inactivity due to restricted seat space and the fear of disturbing others if moving around the cabin frequently.
If you are tired or stressed before starting your air travel then this may also worsen jet lag symptoms and increase the recovery period that generally follows a long flight.
The most common symptoms of jet lag are disorientation, dehydration and gastrointestinal disturbances, such as constipation or nausea, headaches and general malaise or feeling unwell. Swollen limbs, particularly the feet, due to inactivity add to the discomfort, and the possibility of blood clots forming is another risk of air travel.
Once at your destination sleep patterns are often disturbed and it may take several days to enjoy an unbroken night’s sleep. This may adversely affect holiday plans so recovering from the effects of travel should be taken into account when planning any holiday.
Treating jet lag is not always easy. Homeopathic tablets are thought to help travellers recover from the effects of extended travel, but their effectiveness is unproven. It is advised that to lessen the consequences of jetlag keep well hydrated during the flight, avoid caffeine and alcohol containing drinks, and try to sleep well before you travel. Stretch and exercise your legs and feet during the flight to increase the blood circulating during the flight. If possible walk around during any stopovers to lessen the possibility of blood clots forming.
Talk to your pharmacist about how you can lessen the effects of air travel. They can give you advice as to suitable treatments to try to lessen jetlag and to allow you to recover from flights so that you can enjoy more of your holiday.