Health Risks of Changing Time Zones

Having a vacation in distant countries is not only a mass of new impressions, but a powerful stress for the body as well. Everyone lives according to his or her biological rhythms (daily, monthly, and yearly rhythms). It is very important not to disrupt these rhythms and adjust your vacation to them carefully.

What Health Problems Are Caused by Time Zones Changing?

The greatest difficulty is with a daily rhythm. Suppose you are flying on holiday from London towards the Singapore sun. There is a gap in time and you are crossing several time zones. And it starts at the moment the aircraft takes off the runway in your home city. Immediately on landing you begin to relax and have fun. But your body remembers that everyone is asleep at your home. It resists, and the failure begins. Day and night are mixed up. The setting of the internal biological clock in accordance with the external one gives you a bunch of “nice” feelings, such as the headache, increased pressure, dissipated attention, disturbed sleep, and poor appetite. This all-year-round condition is aggravated by the transition from winter to summer, which provokes the internal clock failure. In the cold environment, our body is forced to maintain a very active metabolism, which slows down, if the surroundings are hot. So if you arrive at the resort, being “unprepared,” the body can revenge you by means of a vegetovascular crisis, an upset stomach, cracked lips, conjunctivitis, and upper respiratory tract infections.

How to Minimize the Health Consequences of Crossing Time Zones?

In order not to prolong this pleasure for two weeks and cope with it in a matter of one of two days, prepare your body for stress acclimation in advance. Let yourself go on vacation!

According to physicians, full integration of an absolutely healthy person into new climatic conditions of the southern countries takes three or four days. Accordingly, the person, who is not absolutely healthy, will need more time. If you go or fly on vacation with any illness not treated completely, the malaise may accompany you during the entire vacation. As for children, the doctors do not recommend to travel with them for five or six days, as most of the time will be spent on acclimatizing.

Readaptation after coming back home takes the same period of time. However, the experts say that good preparatory work will make both processes much easier. You can also rely on the help of vitamins, exercises, and sauna.

Preparation for the Vacation: Vessels Training

Start preparing for the vacation two weeks before the departure. Train your vessels. Thus, your cardiovascular system will find it easier to stand the heat. Effective and affordable ways of doing it are daily alternating douche or sauna (twice a week). Start such trainings at least two weeks before the holiday. Go to a tanning salon. Light tan enhances protective functions of the skin and reduces sensitivity to excess UV radiation.

Relaxing Exercises

Take up some relaxation exercises. It is much easier to have a mental relaxation if the stress is removed from the body. To do this, make sure that you will not be bothered for 15 minutes. There should be soft light in your room. You lie down comfortably, so that you can feel the surface you are lying on with the whole body. Watch your breath for 5 minutes. Try to involve your stomach muscles in breathing, and do not breathe with your chest or throat. Your muscles must be relaxed. Do not try to get rid of your thoughts – they can flow naturally. However, if you start concentrating on problems, focus your attention on your breath again.

Autogenic Training

Then select a subject, which you could watch without straining your eyes. Focus on it, breathe deeply, and repeat several times to yourself: “I do not need to hurry, there is no need to think about anything. I can afford to relax.” As you exhale, imagine that tension leaves you together with the air, and you get rid of unwanted thoughts, worries and concerns, and each breath fills you with strength and energy. Draw a mental picture of the desired place of your vacation, and imagine you are taken there completely healthy and full of energy. After the exercise, do not make any sudden movements and do not try to get up immediately. If you manage to relax successfully every day during the period of two weeks, there may come the illusion that vacation is no longer needed, and that you have had a wonderful holiday.

Healthy Diet before the Trip to Another Time Zone

Stick to a diet. The abrupt transition from our “winter” carbohydrate diet to the abundant exotic table is bad for your gastrointestinal system and threatens with all kinds of disorders. To avoid this, change your diet three or four days before the trip: limit meat dishes, eat more fruits and vegetables. Thus, the body will slow down its metabolism by adjusting its rhythms to a resort life. In addition, you should not overload the stomach during the hot days. You will have to enjoy your meals in the morning and evening hours. Make sure beforehand that your body is accustomed to such diet.

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