As we finish finals we can breathe a sigh of relief that the time to head back home is just around the corner. For international students, this brings with it a new issue to consider: jet lag.
Jet lag is the physiological condition that affects the natural circadian rhythms in our body and is caused by long distance travel. Generally, it is known to be worse when the individual loses time. I.e travels from West to East. If you aren't a sufferer of this, all I can say is, lucky you!
On long distance journeys, adjusting to a new time zone quickly has clearly been an ability I do not have. One particularly memorable trip to Borneo from the U.K left me utterly discombobulated and very ill at one point. What this has enabled me to learn, however, is some ways to trick my body into thinking it is the efficient jetsetter my brain has decided it is.
When you get on your flight, adjust your watch or your phone to the timezone you are journeying to, and try to match your routine accordingly. For example, if it’s 11 PM in your destination try to get some sleep rather than staying up watching movies. Obviously, if it’s only lunchtime for you, this is easier said than done. Nonetheless grabbing those extra few hours is a great help to preventing sleep deprivation. Essentially, comfort is key. The more relaxed you feel on a long distance flight the more likely you are to fall asleep when your body needs you to. Rocking the yoga chic look may not mean you land looking photoshoot ready, but it will leave you feeling relatively human.
Sadly, coffee is a huge catalyst when it comes to jet lag. As much as it pains me inside to say this, ditch the coffee at least 12 hours before and during the journey. Even if you think you need it to get going in the morning, the consequences are not worth it. Caffeine hugely upsets your body clock, a factor that is only accelerated in this environment. Substituting that cappuccino for a decaffeinated alternative will aid your struggle in the long run. In fact, the best thing to replace this with is water. It may seem simple but while facing airport stresses a lot of us forget to keep hydrated. Pressurized airplane cabins increase humidity, causing bodily dehydration. When we are dehydrated, our bodies are more subject to fatigue. This can be the biggest downfall when it comes to avoiding jet lag.
In the grand scheme of things, this is obviously a very nice problem to have to deal with. It means you have had the pleasure to travel, see new places, and meet different people. But it would be nonsensical to have this opportunity and still waste time upon arrival because your body cannot cope with the change of environment it has been thrown into.