Jet lag is the disturbance to sleep patterns produced by travelling across several times zones when flying East or West.
It is usually worse when you fly East (towards the Middle East, China and Japan or returning to the UK from a stay in the USA) as the body finds it harder to accept a shorter day (in effect requiring you to go to bed early and sleep) than a longer day (requiring you to stay up longer and then sleep).
Jet lag is associated with a feeling of tiredness, confusion and lethargy. The most common problem is an inability to sleep at night in the new time zone. Sufferers will find it difficult to fall to sleep at the required time and despite only a small amount of sleep sufferers will often wake up very early at what would have been the normal waking time in their normal time zone.
If you take medicines at the same time each day, such as the oral contraceptive pill or insulin, you should discuss this with your pharmacist to ensure you do not miss doses or take too much.
What are the causes of jet lag?
Your body has a natural body clock that dictates the daily pattern of waking and sleep. This pattern is called the circadian rhythm and is set to your local time zone by the hours of light and dark you experience. This circadian rhythm affects when you feel awake and tired, but also when you feel hungry, your body temperature and blood pressure and even when you go to the toilet.
When you travel across time zones it takes a while for your body clock to adjust, and so it may be making you feel wide awake when it’s bedtime in the new time zone or very tired when you should be raring to go. This can be a serious problem on business trips but also can spoil the first few days of a holiday that has cost you a fortune!
Treatments for jet lag
Most people find that symptoms of jet lag will gradually reduce over 2-3 days and the symptoms are not a serious health problem but can be rather disruptive and very inconvenient. You can help your body adjust by adopting the correct times for eating and sleeping in the new time zone as soon as possible. This may mean really trying to stay up when you first arrive. Spending time outside may also help as natural light will influence your body clock to adapt more quickly. Avoiding dehydration is also important to reduce jet lag.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that can help to ease jet lag by “resetting” the body clock. Melatonin is naturally released by the body in the evening when it gets dark to let your body know it’s time to sleep, and production is reduced in response to light to help you wake up. It can be used to help jet lag by helping you to sleep at the appropriate time for the new time zone.
For a wheelchair user, the city of London may seem like a nightmare to navigate. With bustling crowds and plenty of steep steps, getting around London in your wheelchair might seem like an impossible task. But, the capital city is more accessible than you think – and when you know all of the best tips and tricks, visiting London with a disability can become a very enjoyable and memorable trip.
Book a Tour Bus
A disabled access tour bus is one of the best ways for wheelchair users to discover London. On the tour bus, you’ll be able to see all of the most popular tourist areas in the city in a short amount of time, and it also helps with getting a good idea of the layout for when you are travelling in your own time. You can also book a ticket for the wheelchair accessible London Eye with your tour bus ticket, a great way to get a look at the layout of the city from above. Most of the tours at www.theoriginaltour.com are wheelchair accessible.
Don’t be put off visiting the most popular tourist attractions such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and the British Museum when you see the flights of stairs leading to the entrance. Both of these tourist attractions have wheelchair-friendly side entrances which you can use with either a wheelchair lift or a ramp. Simply ask a member of staff at the ticket office to help you!
When it comes to public transport, some methods are more wheelchair-friendly than others. Most of the London buses have wheelchair ramps, which the driver will let down to let you on the bus easily and without hassle. It’s also a good idea to get an Oyster card, a small credit-card sized plastic ticket which you can top up and use to pay as you go on buses, trains and the Underground. This will save you time and hassle queuing up at ticket offices.
Thames Boat Tours
Thames boat tours are wheelchair-friendly, and one of the best and most relaxing ways to get some awesome views of the city. There are a range of different tours available, from sightseeing tours to sunset tours with dinner and a drink. The most popular route is between Tower Bridge and Westminster Bridge, but you can also get a tour that goes all the way to Greenwich and back – a great way to see as much as you can of the city from the Thames. For the leading Thames boat tours website visit www.citycruises.com.
Crossing the River Thames in a wheelchair can be a bit of a hassle on many of the bridges. But, the Millennium Bridge makes it easy, with elevators at each end of the bridge. This walking bridge connects St Paul’s Cathedral on the north side with the Tate Modern Museum on the south side of the river, and is an easy way for wheelchair users to get across. If you plan to drive in London, find convenient parking spaces close by to tourist attractions using www.yourparkingspace.co.uk.
London may be busy, but there are plenty of options for wheelchair users to get around and make the most of their trip.