We’re back flying across the globe – hopefully with more carbon offsets and direct flights – but along with the wonders of air travel comes the struggle of jet lag – homeopathy can help. While traveling afar fuels the adventurous spirit, the body often lags in its enthusiasm – and sometimes a little extra help is needed to avoid symptoms. Here are some tips for jet lag prevention along with natural remedy support.
Habits to Reset the Clock
Prevention is often the best medicine, so two simple habits to adopt while traveling are consciously resetting mealtimes and adjusting daylight/nighttime routines. Don’t forget to allow extra time to pack and prepare, so you don’t start your holiday exhausted – this will aggravate symptoms.
Since your internal clock is set to a previous schedule, once you land, expose yourself to as much daylight as possible during the day and eliminate any form of light at night. This means shutting out any flashing computer lights and any other blinking electronic devices, however small the light source. Our natural sleep-wake schedule is run by the hormone Melatonin, which is released during the dark hours. While exposing your body to sunlight and darkness at the new schedule works well, some people also like take Melatonin for a few days to help force that reset. Being physically active during the daytime hours will also help reset your inner clock, so if you’re on holidays, get out and do some sightseeing on the first day – if you’re traveling for work, visit the gym or go on a run.
Resetting your mealtimes before you fly also works well and has been successfully used by the military. If you fast before breakfast time in the arrived time zone, then you’re getting a jump start on resetting that schedule. Ideally, if you land in the morning in the new time zone, just drink water on the plane, then eat a high protein meal at breakfast. If that seems too difficult, just eat lightly with fruits and light carbs, avoiding protein. Add caffeine the morning you arrive (and avoid it during your flight). Save the carbs for your nighttime meal at your new destination to help you get a better sleep. Avoid drinking alcohol on your flight and eat lightly with fruits and light carbs on the day of your flight. In a nutshell, it goes like this: fast or eat lightly the day of your flight and on the plane; once you land switch to a high protein meal and caffeine in the morning and high carbs (low protein) in the evening. For more detail, you can read about the Argonne Diet here.
Top Remedies for Jet lag
Jet lag is last thing you want on your holiday or on your first day back at work. If after all the preventatives you still feel horrible – either due to stress of flying, traveling per se, or an imperfect reset of the body clock – homeopathic remedies can help. Choose one of the following, according to the symptoms you experience- the better the fit, the faster you’ll be back on your feet because homeopathy works with the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Arnica montana: is an excellent remedy for jet lag if you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. The muscles feel achy and sore all over, you feel tired, dull and out of it, like not all of you has landed.
Cocculus: is a better fit if you’re feeling dizzy and nauseas, you haven’t been able to sleep properly and you feel like you’ve been up all night. Cocculus is an excellent remedy for motion sickness, when you just want to lie down and watch the horizon to stabilize your queaziness.
Nux vomica is one of my favourite jet lag remedies, if you just feel hung over, headachy, exhausted and queazy. This remedy can also be for motion sickness, but instead of being dizzy, you just feel horrible. If you’ve had to work long hours before getting on the plane or you just feel like you have, Nux vomica is a good choice.
Additional Homeopathic Remedies
While those are by far my top jet lag remedies, there are some further scenarios which call for other remedies:
Gelsemium is excellent for total exhaustion and weakness after a flight. The person who needs Gelsemium will typically worry and fret before the trip, leading to insomnia and finally a type of bodily fatigue, exhaustion and weakness that is difficult to recover from – whether before, during or after the flight.
Aconite isn’t so much for jet lag as the number one remedy for fear of flying causing panic. If you fear the plane won’t make it, you’ll die in a crash or you just panic for no reason, Aconite will calm you down. If you know you’re going to panic and are scared leading up to your flight, take this remedy early on, three times before the flight and then as needed during the flight.
Chamomilla is a great remedy for those over-sensitized kids that just scream and won’t settle or sleep on a flight, whether it’s due to earache from the change in altitude or just an overwrought nervous system. Give every 30 minutes until the child settles or for 3 doses, then as needed. Oh how I wish more parents knew about this one!
Homeopathic medicines are without side effects but they are medicine, so stop when feeling better. The general recommendations are to give a dose of the 30ch potency (usually 3-5 pills) every 2 hours for 3 doses, then three times daily until symptoms subside. Since homeopathy is a highly personalized medicine, for specific questions seek the expert advice of a homeopath for best results.
These final tips may seem obvious, but they are worth repeating. Hydrate before and during your flight – airplanes are very drying and dehydration certainly increases jet lag symptoms. Use caffeine and alcohol wisely, not excessively. Whether you’re off on a holiday or for work, don’t leave exhausted thinking you’ll catch up when you’re there. Eat healthy, your body will thank you!