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How to prevent motion sickness

06.06.2016, Tip of the month

Let’s be real. Motion sickness can be very annoying, but luckily you can minimize or prevent it. Almost everyone has experienced one of the motion sickness symptoms – like dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sweating and so on. Are you regularly struggling with motion sickness? Check these tips out to make your next car ride a pleasant as you can.

Motion sickness appears because your brain and your inner ear don't agree when it comes to motion. Your inner ear – where your balance centre is located – is sure that you are moving (because you are feeling the motion), but your brain thinks that you are not (because your eyes are telling your brain that everything is still). There are many theories as to why we experience such a bad reaction to this conflict, but the most common one is that your body starts with a defence mechanism against neurotoxins.

So, the solution for getting rid of motion sickness (or travel sickness) is to make peace with your brains. Here are some easy solutions for doing just that. 

The simplest do’s and don’ts for preventing car/motion sickness

Do #1: Focus on the Horizon

As we said, carsickness appears because your inner ear and your brain are arguing. To make your brain and inner ear get in sync, just focus on an object outside the vehicle. Don’t stare on the dashboard but look at the road and the buildings in the distance. Which leads us to our second tip:

Do #2: Sit in the front seat

Do this whenever it’s possible. Why? This makes easier for you to focus on a fixed point. Sitting in the front seat also help you resisting the temptation to look out the side window, which often causes nausea.

Do #3: You do the driving

If you are driving, you are more focused on the driving than you are on feeling carsick.   

Do #4: Open the window

We don’t need to emphasize that fresh and cool air is always a good idea.

Do #5: Take breaks

You should take frequent breaks especially during long journeys. Stretch your legs, take some deep breaths and try to relax.

Do #6: Consume ginger

Ginger has been shown to help with motion sickness. There are many ways to eat it, from lollipops to tea, soda, cookies or chewing gum. Choose the one form that suits you most.

Fundamental don’ts:

Don’t eat like there’s no tomorrow

Overeating is not a good idea, especially when you are about to sit in a car for couple of hours. Don’t eat fatty, greasy or spicy meals and remember to drink plenty of water. You should also avoid excessive alcohol (no need to emphasize the fact that too much alcohol can make you sick even if you’re not on a road).

Stabilize your glucose levels

Drinking any sweet juice during the ride can increase your nausea, because acute hyperglycaemia is related to gastrointestinal symptoms in motion sickness. If you’re going to eat on the road, try to stabilize your glucose levels, and avoid pastries, donuts and greasy sandwiches. Opt-in for oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta with vegetables or salad with lean cuts, fish or white beans with some rye bread on the side. If you drink coffee, avoid sugar and try to ad a little bit of cinnamon.

Don’t read or stare at your phone or other electronic devices

Although you may expect this kind of activity to take your mind off the motion sickness, it can actually make things worse, because you increase the dissonance between your brain and inner ear. In other words, concentrating on visual object inside the car really makes motion sickness even worse. The best way to be entertained without reading is to listen audio books.

Avoid traveling at night

Night travelling can be more difficult, because the head lights and street lights can be disorientating. If you can’t avoid traveling after dark, choose the passenger seat and try to close your eyes or take a nap.

Don’t concentrate on feeling sick

Do everything to keep your mind off sickness. Try to sing, talk and laugh. Do some meditation, imagine yourself anywhere else except driving in a car. Stay positive!

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