Request Brochure

Why Floating Is The Perfect Remedy for Jet Lag

01 October 2022, by i-sopod

After a long haul flight, how do you feel? Tired, drowsy, off kilter? Jet lag can make it hard to concentrate and function normally, which isn’t what you want, especially if you travel frequently for work, or if you have to go long distance for a short period of time.

Here are some of the symptoms people experience after a long haul flight:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Irregular digestion (diarrhoea / constipation)
  • Body aches
  • Dehydration
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Headaches, migraines, nausea.

Why does long distance air travel affect us in this way? The time spent in high altitude, low air pressure, plus the sudden jump in time zone are apparently the biggest factors. In an airplane, the air pressure is lower than at sea level, meaning less oxygen reaches the brain. Over a prolonged period of time, this can intensify feelings of lethargy, headaches and nausea.

Plus, when we change timezones so rapidly (as opposed to the gradual shift of a long road trip, for instance) our circadian rhythm is impacted. This is the complex and sensitive in-built system which keeps us sleeping with the dark hours, and wakeful during the light hours of the day. This accounts for the difficulty adapting to new sleep patterns, and the fatigue that most travellers will experience.

How to Combat Jet Lag

Here are a few common bits of advice you might hear for dealing with flight fatigue:

  • Drink loads of water to combat dehydration and restore the body.
  • Exercise early in the day to boost wakefulness; helpful if you find yourself travelling forwards time-wise, meaning you’re in a new timezone where it’s daylight when your internal body clock says it’s still night time…
  • Try to stay awake until late, and resist napping during the day.
  • Adjust your body clock in advance: start to alter your sleep cycle gradually before you travel to anticipate the change.
  • Take melatonin supplements: the hormone which the pineal gland secretes when night falls, inducing relaxation and sleepiness. Supplementing with melatonin can therefore help as you adjust to new sleep cycles.
  • Fasting: some swear by fasting during the flight, as long haul flying (not to mention high salt and fat levels of overly processed airline food…) can often negatively impact digestion. Fasting may not be for everyone, but it can give the body an opportunity to rest and reset whilst in the air, and to then adapt to a new eat and sleep cycle on landing.
  • Something you might not have heard or considered: time in a float tank. Read on to find out more.

How can Floatation help with Jet Lag?

Here are a few ways:

  • Our brains are directly impacted by the type of light we’re exposed to, which varies throughout the day. When you’ve been travelling, the light you’re suddenly exposed to is out of whack with the light cycle your circadian rhythm has been accustomed to. The spectrum of light we take in, and the timing and duration of it, affects the type of brainwaves we omit, and also the state of our nervous system. Lying in the total darkness of a float tank for an hour gives the nervous system the opportunity for a full reset, as you begin to adapt to a new light cycle in your new timezone. Read more about the impact of light on our wellbeing here.
  • Being in the dark also encourages the body to naturally release melatonin – another reason the float tank environment can help. Some studies say that resting in a float pod for an hour gives us the benefits of the equivalent of 4-8 hours sleep.

‘When we cross time zones and are exposed to light during our normal bedtime, our melatonin cycles are disrupted, resulting in jet lag until our circadian rhythm gets in sync with the new time zone.’ CNN Travel

  • The circadian rhythm is set and regulated by brainwaves, not only by light, and this internal system is also affected by stress. When floating, the brain has the possibility to slip into a theta state, which are the brainwaves associated with deep rest and meditation.
  • Dehydration and feeling generally depleted after long haul travel? The high concentration of magnesium in the float tank does wonders for rehydration and restoring the body in a multitude of ways. Read more about the benefits of a high magnesium intake here.
  • If you’re feeling stiff and achey, or bloated and experiencing after a long flight, the Epsom salts in the tank will help ease those pains and recalibrate the body. Find out how Epsom salts help with aches and pains, here.

How Effective is it?

Experts who have analysed Float REST (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy) have observed how it can lessen the duration of jetlag experienced.

‘Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST), also known as isolation tanks or flotation therapy, could also provide some perks for frequent travellers due to its ability to recalibrate your internal clock. They are used for relaxation, encouraging creativity, and treating problems such as anxiety, swelling, insomnia and jet lag.’ CNN Travel

Jetsetters and celebrities are also catching onto the benefits of floating post flight too. Here’s what actress Naomie Harris had to say about floating after travel:

‘I’ve discovered that the only way to combat the effects of traveling is to immerse myself in a dark pod, filled with salt water and float for an hour. It’s all about sensory deprivation and works a treat. I go straight there from the airport, but my dream is to have my own tank at home.’ Naomie Harris

If you have a long distance flight coming up, why not book yourself in for a float on arrival, to see how your jet lag symptoms are alleviated? Read more about the many benefits of floatation on our blog.