Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fly Right

As we head into the holiday season many of us will be traveling. Flying across time zones can throw your circadian rhythms out of whack, resulting in fatigue, headaches and not feeling yourself. To prevent jet lag, adjust your bedtime by an hour each day leading up to your departure. (matching the sleep schedule you'll follow when you arrive at your destination) Stay awake on flights if it's daytime at your arrival place, try to sleep if it's nighttime where you are headed.

Some of the newest research on neurophysiology indicates that elevating your temperature can help reset your circadian rhythms (day/night cycles). Exercising, grabbing a sauna or relaxing in a warm bath helps that process.

Eat carefully.Pressurized cabins can have odd effects on your gastro intestinal system. Avoid gas producing foods preflight, such as apples, apricots, beans, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower - even milk if you’re lactose intolerant. And pack high fiber snacks in your carry-on, such as dried fruit, nuts and whole grain granola bars.

Avoid alcohol. Because of altitude, pressurization and dehydration, one drink during your flight has the alcoholic equivalent of nearly two and a half on the ground. Instead drink water--drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight. You can also supplement with melatonin to help reset your natural rhythms.

Keep moving. Blood clots are a serious health threat on long flights. Force yourself to get up and move around the cabin on a regular basis. Flex your legs and rotate your ankles while you’re seated. Do knee bends while waiting in line for the lavatory. Spend layovers walking through the airport.

Most everyone experiences jet lag at some point but following these suggestions will minimize your discomfort.
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