Reasons Why Flying Is So Tiring
Flying is tiring. And it’s not just jet lag you have to deal with. Even a short haul or domestic flight can leave you feeling like you’ve just run a marathon.
Crazy as it seems, after all, you’re sitting in a comfortable seat, being waited on by attentive cabin crew, maybe catching a nap or two, but flying is an exhausting business which can also play havoc on your body.
So just why does flying on a plane make you feel so awful? Here’s why even a short flight is so tiring for your body and mind.
Let’s face it, travelling at 35,000 feet in an aluminium tube isn’t natural. What’s more, you’re not breathing the same amount or even quality of air that you do on the ground.
If you’ve ever climbed a mountain, hiked, or skied at high altitudes you may be familiar with altitude sickness. The air is thinner due to less oxygen, and it can make your brain feel fuzzy and thick.
During a flight, the cabin is pressurised because outside oxygen levels aren’t sufficiently high enough to keep us alive. Cabin air is pressurised to an equivalent of about 8,000 feet; it’s like sitting on a top of a mountain. That’s quite a drop in oxygen levels for most of us who are used to living at sea level. The drop in your body’s oxygen saturation, even for a couple of hours, will leave you feeling more tired than usual.
Sitting in the same position for long periods of time doesn’t help either. Sitting still causes blood to pool around your legs, ankles and feet and your body has a harder time circulating oxygen.
When cabin air is pressurised it loses practically all humidity and is drier than desert air. This can leave you with a dry mouth, and on longer flights, dehydrated. Coffee, tea, caffeinated fizzy drinks and above all, alcohol are all diuretics and their effect is even more dehydrating on a flight. It can result in headaches, dizziness and further fatigue.
When your plane starts its descent, cabin pressurisation is turned off when it gets below 6,000 feet. The pressure fluctuates, causing the air to expand and contract. Gases in your stomach and intestines do the same thing, and can cause feelings of nausea. Even dental fillings can expand which can lead to headaches and toothache.
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