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Many of us look forward to our travels plans all year, but all too often we find ourselves needing a vacation after the vacation!
Travel-related circadian stress can take a major toll on the body, revealing physiological weak links that creep to the surface. Sleep issues often rear their ugly head, and digestion often slows down after crossing over time zones.
Not to mention illnesses like COVID-19 and navigating when to wear a mask to avoid exposure.
Then, there is the phenomenon called “leisure sickness,” which is when folks go on vacation, finally let their guard down, and then get sick. (11)
Don’t forget the re-entry phase—when you return home and try to get back in the swing of things, and stress compromises the immune system making you even more vulnerable to getting sick.
Below, some quick and easy tips to mitigate air travel stress.
Hack Jet Lag with Low-Dose Melatonin
Studies show that one cross-Atlantic trip is enough to significantly alter your beneficial gut bacteria and morph them to be more inclined to mess with your blood sugar and cause weight gain. (1)
The circadian stress from jet lag can last for up to a week on both sides of the trip and disturb normal melatonin production. This process has been linked to a crowd of concerns: (2)
- Daytime sleepiness
- Mild headache
- Temporary sleeplessness at night
- Loss of appetite
- Short-term digestive disturbances
- Occasional constipation
- Brain fog
- Sinus concerns
Low-dose melatonin supplementation is an easy fix for this. Many have tried melatonin without success because they are likely taking too high of a dose. Most OTC melatonin tablets are far too strong!
The newest science suggests that low-dose melatonin can help reset the circadian clock, encourage the body to make its own melatonin, and help us quickly reset to new geographical rhythms more quickly. (2-5)
Because of this new science and the tendency for us Westerners to give the largest dose of everything possible, I formulated a low-dose liquid melatonin supplement as an alternative to these high doses available in the supermarket.
Our Liquid Melatonin has .1 mg of melatonin in 1 drop. For jet lag, before, during and after travel, I suggest 1-10 drops of melatonin 45 minutes before bed. Start with 1 drop a few days before you travel and build up as needed.
Bulletproof Your Sinuses While Traveling with Nasya
Feeling rundown is also a common experience that can ruin a vacation. You are, after all, breathing the air of some 200 other passengers on the plane.
The easy hack for this is an Ayurvedic technique called nasya. Sniff a small amount of herbalized sesame oil into both sinuses before you travel and every couple of hours during travel.
The oil is soothing and cleansing to the sinuses to keep them from drying out and becoming congested during travel. Sounds too simple to work, but it really does!
Boost Bowel Function with Cooling, Slimy Herbs
Occasional constipation is another very common travel concern. According to Ayurveda, travel aggravates vata (air) which can dry out and slow down the elimination process.
I suggest a formula called Elim 1—a combination of cooling and slimy herbs like slippery elm, licorice that soften and lubricate the gut, and herbs to tone (triphala) and kick-start the muscles of the gut responsible for normal elimination. Triphala alone can be too drying and may cause a dependency over time.
Immune-Boosting Adaptogenic Support with Ashwagandha
According to Ayurveda, the best adaptogenic herb for travel stress is ashwagandha.
It has been widely studied to protect the body from stress (6), boost immunity, protect against stress-related oxidation, support healthy cortisol levels, normal sleep cycles and much more. (6-10)
If you are going to take just one herb with you on your air travel vacation, ashwagandha should be it.
(For COVID-related concerns, consider wearing an N95 mask in the airport and while your plane sits on the runway, before the air filtration system may be securely running.)