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Jet Lagged?3 Ways To Beat It Naturally
Sleep is one of the most necessary components for great health and also one more influenced by our mind. Do you have trouble falling asleep at night because you are worried about bills or a task you must complete? Insomnia is just one side effect of having your brain in imbalance.
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Weekends often have the same effect as travel when it comes to disrupting our established sleep patterns. Have you ever come back to work on a Monday morning after a particularly active weekend feeling more exhausted than ever? These natural interruptions in the routines of our lives easily disrupt the body’s association with periods of rest and activity. In fact, most people who suffer from sleep problems are actually victims of something else—“jet lag without leaving home.” Indeed, many people set their bodies to a distorted clock: They eat at different times on different days, and wake up at variable times as well. These breaks in routine have the same effect as common jet lag, which occurs when you travel from one geographic location to another. And they should be treated in relatively the same way.
- Minimize food intake when traveling (specifically when you’re on the plane itself.) Eat enough to feel comfortable, but avoid anything that makes you feel heavy or lethargic. Avoid alcohol, but drink water consistently to hydrate yourself. Airplane cabins are pressurized and the internal air lacks moisture, so it’s important to self-regulate your hydration when inside.
- Meditate when you’re flying. Again, this enables your body to balance your senses during a naturally unbalanced period (that is, you’re 30,000 feet in the sky in a pressurized cabin that smells a certain way and buzzes with a consistent and dissonant sound). Also, be especially diligent about practicing meditation after you arrive at your destination.
- Integrate your normal routines as soon as possible whenever you arrive at a new location. Eat your meals at the prescribed times, and balance your diet just as you otherwise would. When it comes to sleep, try your best to acclimatize to the new time zone—that is, go to sleep by 10 p.m. and wake up by 6 a.m. This may be difficult, but it’s important that even if you can’t sleep, you still dictate to your body that these are the new terms and routines. It will eventually adjust.
During this time, avoid naps as best you can. The more you reinforce old rules and routines in your body, the longer the jet lag will last. Finally, don’t stress out over the new routine and how long it takes your body to adjust. Remember, just because you may not be asleep when you’re in bed doesn’t mean that your body isn’t getting valuable rest.
If you haven't left home but have spent the weekend running around all over town and eating and sleeping at different times you may feel just as bad by Monday morning. Try to practice steps 1-3 as much as possible when it comes to eating and sleeping to avoid the weekend jet-lag syndrome.