Yoga for Jet Lag is similar to Yoga for Insomnia as symptoms of a jet lag is insomnia triggered by that act of passing through different time zones. There’s also what’s called a “social” jet lag, where one has never left town on air travel but has a lifestyle that resembles a jet lag where the sleep/wake patterns are not in sych with the actual biological body clock … that could be again as a result of social reasons or due to some dementia where your day reverses with night.
In normal healthy situations, with jet lag symptoms receding, insomnia usually cures itself but unfortunately there are exceptions where jet lag symptoms drag on or manifests into full blown insomnia. Yes, there are some who carry on and have a challenging time shaking off the affects of a jet lag that could be a cause of (1) insomnia (2) headaches (3) stomach upsets – of one extreme to the other (4) fatigue (5) general sense of unease and anxiety. (6) body aches and stiffness. There are many theories and advice on how to deal with jet lag online that are valid based on science and medical studies and there are many that are simply anecdotal which may or may not work. The most common is from those who will say that it’s the mindset – you just power through and never think about it and totally trick your mind into the new time zone. This is of course possible but there are variables that affect the success of that – pretend all is good – method and this article may give you a clue that “fake it” until you make it OR denial method does not really work on the long run – your body knows even if your brain/mind may pretend otherwise. These factors determine the severity of our jet lag discomforts:
- Depending on where you are going to, your body may undergo additional stress to acclimate and adapt to the new environment – I am talking about the climate of the new location you find yourself in.
- How many time zones you few in. Usual rule of thumb is per each time zone, give one day of rest. That of course is not possible for many and some are traveling right back or traveling further so … further confusing the body-clock.
- You weight and any predisposed cardiovascular and circulatory conditions;
- Your age and general fitness level. More advanced in age, the harder to cope; less fit, the more challenging to cope and adapt.
- Quality of sleep you normally enjoy.
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So whether combating a jet lag which is a short term problem or insomnia which might be a bit more complicated, we have to first understand why we sleep so I found this book by Matthew Walker to be very insightful. There’s also his interview on Fresh Air NPR I would recommend listening to.
More later on the How-To’s Tried-and-True and this for not just jet lag but for the need to improve quality of sleep for general positive outlook on life and yes, happiness. We are happy when our energy is bountiful – and when our energy is bountiful, there’s happy body and when our body is happy, mentally, emotionally, we are happy.
It’s about the energy. Our prana. Instead of wasting it or losing it, how to harness it; how to retain it; how to use it for the right purpose; how to increase it. And that all hinges on how we rest, repair, recharge and renew.
So would an inversion help? What about a heart-centric practice or how about decompression of the spine and opening of the hips? Things to think about in designing a sequence to serve as a remedy for those who can’t afford one day of rest per each time zone and have the need to get up and go and be productive from the get-go.