7 secrets for staying healthy at sea

I admit it — I get seasick in a bathtub. Especially the really big ones at those fancy resorts.

OK, maybe that is a stretch. But I often feel sick in the car if I am not driving (and Chris is an exceptional driver), sometimes get queasy on the plane and always – even on flat-calm days – get sick on a boat. Ship. Whatever.

It gets worse when jetlag is involved.

So I thought I’d share some strategies I’m hopeful will help me through our upcoming cruise that address both the seasickness and jetlag. And please, if you have tried any of these or have others, drop me a line or leave a comment. I’m very open to suggestions.

Jet Lag, or desynchronosis, occurs when we travel across time zones. That’s because our internal clock takes its cues visually and operates on a strict timetable. When the external timetable shifts it takes a while for the body to catch up.

There’s also link to seasickness, also called kinetosis, and visual perception. But in this case it is two internal functions — the inner ear and eye — that disagree.

So what is a mom to do? Here are seven remedies I’ll try.

Drink lots of water.
I want to thank the TSA for making this a real trick. These days I have to travel with an empty water bottle and fill up at every available water fountain. Hydration is very important. Even slight dehydration can increase the probability and intensity you will suffer visual disorientation. And being hydrated will help with many of the symptoms of jetlag. (See article on ways to make water more palatable in a previous column.)

Monitor your sun exposure.
Remember the jetlag reset is triggered visually. For jetlag you may want more exposure – rest on the deck instead of in your room. For seasickness stay on deck but find a covered area toward the front and not on the top most deck. In this case you’ll be checking out the horizon. Don’t forget your sunscreen. Sunburn just makes everything worse!

Dramamine tablet. Photo by Brian Hefele/ Flickr CCGet plenty of rest – but not too much.
A recent survey showed that people who rested 6 to 8 hours a night were slimmer than those with more or less sleep. If that isn’t reason enough to catch some zzzs, sleep is one of the major processes that helps the body reset. If you are tired during the day try brief 20 minute “eye rests.” Just enough to relax the muscles but not send your systems into shut-down mode.

Come prepared for the worst.
Yeah, it sucks to take a pill if you know it will make you drowsy or zap your energy, but you’re better off having them on hand — just in case. I have a tiered approach. I will start the trip with ginger tablets and the bio band. If that doesn’t work, Motion eaze oil behind the ear or On The Move tablets are next. My last resort is Relief Band that emits electric pulses to avoid the. Bonine is said to act even after you have started feeling the effect. So this is the true last resort for me.

Watch what you eat .
Certain foods take more out of our system than others. In particular fatty or fried foods as well as high sugar drinks and juices require a lot of water to break down and can leave you dehydrated. Alcohol is not your friend. It can intensify the spinning sensations brought on by seasickness and will absolutely dehydrate you. For me, it also makes it harder to stay away from the fatty and fried foods.

Keep a schedule.
Try to wake and go to bed at the same time each day, even if you don’t feel like it at first. Think of it as resetting or a hard start. Plan a short nap in the midday if you can but no more than 20 minutes. That will take the edge off. When we travel to areas that are 3 hours or less in time difference we often keep our East Coast timing. Yes we have a lot of breakfasts for lunch, but it seems to reduce the grouch factor. Plus we have all that time to get things done in the morning before anything is open. Getting back is a snap too!

Exercise – but lightly.
Both exercise and diet will work together to help you to reset to the local time and environment. Just remember the dehydration factor. So before you kick it for an hour of high intensity cardio, you might want to consider, Pilates, yoga or weight training. And drink plenty of water between intervals.

If you have tips, traps or talk-backs, please leave a comment below or email me directly.