Jet lag is a term used to describe fatigue and disruption to a person's body clock that is synonymous with long journeys crossing time zones. Uncomfortable seats and unrelenting stimulation can result in less than quality sleep on a long plane or bus ride, adding to the feelings of fatigue. However, the reason people experience such symptoms may be due to more than just sleep deprivation; hormonal balance may also be disrupted while traveling. The regulation of the stress hormone cortisol has been found to be greatly affected by upset daily rhythms while changing time zones. For some reason, eastbound travelers see more negative effects than those going west; perhaps because time is lost as opposed to gained.
What does this have to do with estrogen and progesterone? Sleep deprivation and traveling itself can cause a stress response in the body. Cortisol, made from progesterone, is released as part of the body's “fight or flight” response to stress. If progesterone is converted into cortisol, estrogen levels may go unchecked, resulting in physical and mental symptoms. Though travel may disrupt the body's delicate balance of hormones, this is no reason to avoid it. Below you can find some tips to help maintain hormone levels next time you are on a long trip.
5 Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling
Rest before the trip
The status of a woman's health before takeoff is much related to how a woman will feel post-trip. Having a healthy lifestyle makes it easier to recover from trips that could be traumatic to bodies of less healthy women.
Though it can be inconvenient to have to use the tiny airplane bathroom during a flight, or stop at every rest area on a car trip, dehydration is a well-known proponent of hormonal imbalance. Drinking plenty of water will improve your overall well-being and maintain hormone levels.
Keep medications in a carry-on bag
If you are taking prescriptions or herbal medicine for hormone balance, missing a dose because of misplaced luggage could send hormones into a tailspin.
Choose a healthy snack
Everyone likes to eat on road trips, especially junk food. But for women susceptible to hormone imbalance, what you put into your body has a big impact on how you feel. Opt for healthier snacks like trail mix and water instead of candy bars and sugary drinks.
Put the cigarette out
Smoking is forbidden on most forms of public transportation these days, and cigarette cravings can be hard for smokers during long-haul flights or long road trips. Not smoking makes traveling easier in general, but it is especially advisable to cut your post-trip recovery time. Smoking can also increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, which is already a heightened risk for travelers and airplane passengers who sit for a long time.
Always check with your doctor before embarking on a long trip. It's a good idea to contact a doctor wherever you are. Click on the following link to read more about hormonal imbalance.