Traveling across the world as a pilot or flight attendant sounds romantic, but their jobs are extremely hard on the body.

Everyday travellers understand that jet lag is part of the travel game. When people cross just two time zones, the body reacts to the light and time change. From disorientation to stomach nausea, each pilot and flight attendant must fight these sensations to safely transport passengers each day.

What is “Jet Lag”, exactly?

Jet lag isn’t just a sleepy sensation after reaching a destination, but can be a physical reaction to flying and changing time zones.

Some passengers feel nauseated and fatigued. There may be headaches and confusion. Even anxiety could be an issue. Because passengers are traveling for a reason, either business or personal, they could be nervous about a meeting or presentation.

When a pilot or flight attendant feel tired, they must push through the sensation to serve their passengers. Unfortunately, the human body still succumbs to jet lag even if the person continually flies for work purposes.

Why does Jet Lag occur?

World time - it does not care for your body clock. Photo credit: Grant.

World time – it doesnt care for your body clock. Photo credit: Grant.

Some people are affected more than others, and the main reason why it occurs is due to human biological clocks.

Known as circadian rhythms, the human body relies on light and time triggers to indicate active and sleep sections of the day.

A pilot or flight attendant that is crossing the nation will be chasing the sunset when traveling west, effectively making the day seem longer than normal. This prolonged light triggers jet lag symptoms over time.

It’s also thought that cabin pressure adds to the physical ailments. With less oxygen circulating the cabin compared to sea level, a pilot and flight attendant have reduced blood oxygen levels, contributing to jet lag.

Jet Lag cures:

Some amazing myths have surfaced regarding jet lag cures, including a first-class seat purchase. Although passengers may be more comfortable in large, first-class seats, it’s certainly not the answer.

Other travellers have tried to force themselves into a new circadian rhythm using sleeping pills. Essentially, they try to fall asleep with the new time zone.

Some people even believe that alcohol is the magical answer, but none of these tricks truly work.

Coping Strategies of Industry Pros:

The only coping strategies that pilots and flight attendants have are exercise and hydration.

With a little exercise and a lot of bottled water, flight professionals must endure jet lag symptoms with the rest of the passengers. Although they may deal with the symptoms better than amateur travellers, there is no cure for jet lag.

Passengers sleeping in the airport. Photo credit: A. Vaccaro.

Passengers sleeping in the airport. Photo credit: A. Vaccaro.

5 methods to minimize the effects of Jeg Lag

Passengers feel extremely tired mostly because they’re forced to sit for hours at a time. Here are 5 easy ways to keep jet lag at bay:

  1. Each hour, walk around the plane to move blood through the extremities.
  2. Perform regular movements with your hands and feet, to keep increase your circulation.
  3. Along with exercise, drink water continually during the flight.
  4. The dry cabin air literally dehydrates passengers. Hydrating before, during and after a flight helps those jet lag symptoms stay away.
  5. If possible, try to exercise when reaching the destination by taking a brisk walk.

There’s no miracle pill to avoid jet lag for anyone flying for an extended period – be it a passenger, flight attendant or pilot. Unfortunatley it’s just the name of the game.

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