With international borders now open again and travel restrictions easing, you may be wanting to jump on board to jet off over international waters in search of new scenery and see loved ones from whom you may have been separated during the past two years. Although long-haul flights are now more accessible, we need to consider that we may be significantly out of practice with long flights. There are now additional travel stresses to consider when travelling overseas such as frequent cancellations, long wait times at airports. What this means is that our ability to recover from jet lag will be severely impacted and will most likely hit us harder.
Jet lag is the disruption of our body’s internal clock, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle, temperature, and secretion of hormones. Symptoms of jet lag can include fatigue, nausea, insomnia, and brain fog. Float therapy is a proven, safe and effective way to reduce the recovery time from long-haul travel and to quickly adjust to new time zones so that you can be fully present with friends and family, sharp and prepared for work, or to enjoy the beauty of a different landscape simply.
Below are 5 ways float therapy can help combat the dreaded jet lag…
1. Floating helps to reset your body clock.
We all have an internal body clock known as our circadian rhythm. These are physical, mental and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. Most living things are affected by this circadian cycle, and these natural processes respond primarily to natural light and dark i.e., sunlight and night-time. On a long-haul flight, you are constantly under artificial plane light and usually with a bright screen half an arm’s length from your face. When travelling to or from Australia, you usually cross multiple time zones, and arrive at virtually the opposite time of day that your body has become accustomed to. If possible, booking a float at night-time on the first 1-2 days after arriving at your destination will enable your body to be in darkness and reset your internal clock to feel sleepy when needed. This will allow you to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night when your body would usually be up and moving throughout the day.
2. It enables you to lie horizontally without anything weighing you down.
Sitting upright in a cramped and confined space is miserable. The airlines have reduced legroom even further, so your circulation is negatively impacted, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that all travellers should be aware of. DVT are blood clots that can form (usually in the lower legs) during long periods of sitting. You are most at risk when travelling on an aeroplane because there is limited space to get up and move around. The cabin’s atmospheric pressure may also contribute to the coagulation of blood (the jury is still out on this). After a long-haul flight, your body will well and truly thank you for the weightlessness and the ability to lie horizontally.
Again, floating 1-2 days after you arrive when it is dark in the country you are in is the perfect antidote to a long time spent in a cramped aeroplane cabin. Unlike lying down in bed, where you still have gravity taking its effect, floating in an Epsom salt solution with zero gravity will improve your blood flow effortlessly.
3. Allows undisrupted time to process and unwind
Long haul travel is more than the time spent in the air. Factoring in travel to and from airports, through airports and customs, exposing yourself to something foreign. In some cases, new environments, in addition to dealing with stresses outside your control such as delays, mechanical faults, language barriers, new cultures etc., can be positively intensely overwhelming and over-stimulating to the senses. Float therapy gives you the much-needed time away from noise, light, technology and people. It is a chance to relax all your senses and give yourself the head space to process and fully relax and unwind. Emerging from a float after travel will reset your mind, body, and soul to allow you the energy and capacity to be fully present in your new environment.
4. Strengthens your immune system
Floatation therapy has been proven to strengthen your immune system by reducing cortisol. Known as the stress hormone, everybody produces cortisol naturally. When we are exposed to stress for prolonged periods, this stress becomes chronic, and a by-product of chronic stress can be elevated cortisol levels that don’t fluctuate as they usually should throughout the day (highest in the morning, lowest at night). Float therapy has been scientifically proven to decrease cortisol levels after just one session and even more so with repeat sessions. This decrease in cortisol positively impacts the immune system by strengthening it. A robust immune system is crucial when travelling as you can be exposed to many foreign bugs, and an aeroplane is one confined communal space with many shared surface touch points. Sleep deprivation from early or late flights, increased stress from travel logistics, inadequate nutrition from aeroplane food, and a lack of sunlight in the plane can also take their toll on your immune system during travel. Floating pre- and post-travel will boost your immunity and naturally allow your system to fight off all that is thrown its way during travel.
5. It helps to regulate sleep after crossing multiple time zones.
Float therapy can significantly improve your quality of sleep. As mentioned above, jet lag is a significant sleep disruptor. It can disrupt your sleep for multiple days and sometimes weeks if you don’t take the necessary precautions to help alleviate jet lag.
Floatation therapy has a synergistic effect on rest. The combination of total darkness, the quiet environment, the skin temperature silky solution that reduces the sense of touch, a feeling of weightlessness and the concentration of magnesium in the tank all positively impact one’s ability to fall asleep the night after a float and not only stay asleep longer, but the depth and quality of sleep is better. When you cross multiple time zones, you are changing your body clock forwards or backwards by an hour for every time zone crossed. No wonder you struggle to fall asleep at the appropriate times in your new destination; your body will feel backward! The high concentration of magnesium in the tank promotes relaxation and is easily absorbed through the skin. Your GABA ( neurotransmitter in the brain) response is triggered through magnesium absorption, increasing your melatonin production, a precursor to sleep. There are many articles citing that taking melatonin can help to alleviate jet lag and improve sleep, but if you want to naturally increase your melatonin and avoid offsetting your internal system any more than you already have during travel, try floatation therapy pre- and post-travel to increase those melatonin levels and naturally drift off to sleep at the appropriate time.
So, if you are planning to travel anytime soon, take our word for it and try floating before departure and upon arrival to ward off jet lag. Travel is stressful and expensive, so don’t spend it walking around like a jet-lagged zombie! What have you got to lose? Book into Water Temple before embarking on your next trip today.