Jet lag is the bane of the timezone-crossing frequent flyers life and my god it’s a bummer but unfortunately cannot be avoided.
Our bodies are naturally programmed to do a number of things throughout a 24-hour period such as eating and sleeping. This becomes a regular routine and is thrown wildly out of sync when we travel long distances. A major change in time zones can make our bodies very confused, resulting in tiredness, indigestion, memory and concentration issues, loss of appetite and just a generally shitty feeling.
To help get over the dreaded jet lag I have put together my 10 top tips so you can enjoy your new adventure as quickly as possible.
1)If you land during the day stay awake! ->I cannot express enough how hard but how better it is if you try and stay awake if you arrive to your destination during the day. Of course, get an early night but the quicker you get into your new time zone routine the easier it will be. If you’re struggling then go for a nice walk, the fresh air and sunshine will help keep you awake.
2)If you land at night stay awake on the plane -> Same as the above but the other way round. If you’re set to land at your destination in the evening then try and stay awake on the plane as this will get you into the routine of your new time zone much quicker. Watch some films, read a book – you’ll be there and in bed before you know it.
3)Start adapting your routine before you go -> This will help ease you into your new time zone a little easier. For example, if travelling eastwards try and advance your usual sleeping time by 1 hour for three days. So, if you usually sleep between 11pm to 7am on day three you would go to bed at 8pm and wake up 4am the next morning. Doing this will reduce the time differential between the local time and your internal body clock, hopefully reducing the impact of jet lag.
4)Leave home well rested -> Going out on a boozer the night before your flight is certainly not your best option. Flying halfway around the world is stressful, so make sure you start your journey calm, refreshed and relaxed. Get lots of sleep, eat lighter meals and go easy on the caffeine.
5)Keep Hydrated -> Dry and pressurised airplane cabins can quickly lead to dehydration, making you feel very sleepy. Try to alcohol and anything caffeinated during your flight too as these can dehydrate your body, mess up your internal clock and exaggerate jet lag symptoms.
6)Plan a stopover -> If you’ve got a super long flight it might be best to plan a stopover for a few nights giving your body time to adjust gradually to the new time zone. If this is only a short stopover it at least gives you some time to stretch your legs and freshen up.
7)Set your watch to the time of your new destination as soon as you begin your flight -> This will help you mentally prepare for you new time zone and can enable you to start syncing sleeping/eating etc with that time.
8)Take some Melatonin -> Melatonin is a substance that may help “reset” your sleep and wake cycle. Some studies show that using it reduces how much jet lag people get on eastward and westward flights. I have to admit I have never tried the stuff so I couldn’t comment I’m afraid!
9)Keep daytime naps to 30 mins max -> If you’re really struggling to fight sleep any longer during those first few days then by all means take a nap but keep this to 30 minutes maximum so they don’t interfere with your night’s sleep. There is nothing worse than just laying in bed at night completely awake.
10)Relax, don’t stress -> The more you stress and worry about jet lag the worse it will be. Try and keep your mind busy with other thoughts like – what am I going to do when I get there? Or binge watch an entire season of something horribly addictive. Remind yourself that Jet Lag doesn’t last forever.
Do you have any other tips when it comes to jet lag? Please feel free to share them below!