Flights involve travelling from one geographic location to another via an aircraft, such as an aeroplane. While this mode of transportation offers tremendous convenience and speed, it also exposes passengers to certain challenges and effects due to changes in time zones, cabin pressure, and other factors. These effects are often collectively referred to as 'jet lag'.
Jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder and physiological condition that occurs when a person's internal biological clock (circadian rhythm) is disrupted after crossing multiple time zones during a long-distance flight. The body's internal clock, which controls various bodily functions, including sleep-wake cycles, digestion, and hormone regulation, is synchronized with the day-night cycle of their home location.
When a traveller rapidly moves across time zones, their internal clock remains synchronized with their departure location, while the external environment at their destination has a different time of day. This misalignment can lead to a range of symptoms and discomfort.
Certainly, here are 10 foods that can promote better sleep during flights and help combat jet lag:
- Cherries: Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Consuming cherries or cherry juice can help adjust your body's internal clock to your destination's time zone.
- Bananas: Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, which can relax your muscles and ease anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep during a flight.
- Oats: Oats are a complex carbohydrate that can help stabilize blood sugar levels. They release energy slowly, preventing energy spikes and crashes that can disrupt sleep.
- Almonds: Almonds are a good source of magnesium, which can promote relaxation and reduce muscle tension. They also contain protein to help keep you feeling full and satisfied.
- Turkey: Turkey is high in tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes the production of serotonin and melatonin, both of which are essential for sleep regulation.
- Salmon: Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help regulate your body's sleep-wake cycle. It can also reduce inflammation and promote overall health, aiding in minimizing jet lag symptoms.
- Leafy Greens: Vegetables like spinach and kale are high in magnesium, which can relax your muscles and reduce stress, helping you sleep better on a plane.
- Whole Grain Bread: Whole grains, like whole wheat bread, can provide a steady release of energy without causing blood sugar spikes. They are also rich in B vitamins, which are important for maintaining healthy sleep patterns.
- Chamomile Tea: Chamomile tea is known for its calming properties. It can help reduce anxiety and relax your mind, making it easier to fall asleep on a plane.
- Kiwi: Kiwi is a rich source of vitamins C and E, as well as serotonin precursors. Consuming kiwi before or during a flight can help regulate your sleep patterns and boost your overall mood.