Traveling across time zones can mess up your sleep patterns and cause jet lag. It can also mess up your digestion, which causes gut lag.
When your circadian rhythm is out of sync, it affects more than just your sleep.
Since the body works on a 24-hour schedule, traveling quickly across time zones can throw that schedule off because your inner clock doesn’t have time to adjust.
The bacteria in your gut work on this 24-hour cycle. When they become jet-lagged, you experience gut lag.
Gut lag is when you feel hungry at the wrong times or have a lack of appetite when a meal is being served. It can also lead to constipation or diarrhea, both of which can spoil your trip.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all way to prevent gut lag, there are some steps you can take.
1. Don’t eat a lot while traveling. Or eat on the schedule of your destination.
2. Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is important for preventing both jet lag and gut lag. Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, a gastroenterologist, recommends restricting yourself to a water fast during your flight.
3. Shift to the local schedule as soon as you land. If your plane lands at 10 a.m., don’t take a quick nap, and wait until around noon to eat.
4. Get some exercise. Walking around your new city will not only help to wake you up but will also regulate your bowel movements.
Airports and airplanes can already be a struggle, so taking care of your health during a trip will ensure it’s all worth it.
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