Jet lag is something that most frequent flyers will be familiar with. Exhaustion, lack of concentration, and irritability are all symptoms. Jet lag sets in when travellers fly into different time zones and even the difference of a few hours can cause a difficult start to vacations and business trips. Unfortunately, it can take days for our body's internal clock to adapt to it's new surroundings. However, there are a few things you can do before, during and after your flight which can reduce the effects and help enhance your travel experience. Here are our top 5 ways to reduce jet lag:
1. Rest (it's) Easy
It's really obvious, but the very best way to limit the effects of jet lag is to prepare properly before your flight. This means getting lots of sleep in the days leading up to your travel dates and trying to get as much sleep as possible during the actual flight, even if this only turns out to be a few hours. If you arrive the day before an important meeting then you are unlikely to be feeling on top form. Instead, try to arrive a few days prior to any important events and spend the first couple of days relaxing and adapting.
2. Wait! It's Not That Easy
Rest before your flight and relax after, but try and not go to sleep too early when you arrive at your destination. Going to sleep at 2pm because it's midnight back home, will just prolong your jet lag. That being said, staying up until 4am because you are not tired yet is not good either. Try your best to go to sleep around the same time as the locals do. This maybe hard, but is key to feeling like a normal person on day two. Spending time outdoors will help your body adjust once you land. There is no clearer sign that it is daytime than sunlight!
3. Cheating Time
During or even before your departure, set your watch and/or cell phone clock to the time it is in the destination you are travelling to. This will help you to mentally prepare yourself for the time difference and make it easier to adapt to the new time early on. By not resetting your device, you risk constantly reminding yourself of the time back home and how much sleep you are missing out on. Leading up to and during your journey, you can also time your meals so that they coincide closer with breakfast, lunch and dinner in your new destination. This should help hunger set in at the right time, again, making it easier to adjust once you arrive.
4. Drink, D̶r̶i̶n̶k̶, D̶r̶i̶n̶k̶
Dehydration can make the symptoms of jet lag far worse, so make sure you stay hydrated. Although an alcoholic drink on the plane may be tempting, try to avoid both alcohol and caffeine as much as possible and drink plenty of water instead. You can take an empty bottle with you and fill it up once you are through security or even purchase a bottle at the gate. Having your own water onboard will ensure you have enough and that you will not have to rely on (or wake up for) the flight attendant to keep you hydrated.
5. A Pain In The Neck
To make matters worse, stiffness and aches can also contribute to the unpleasant symptoms of jet lag. When you are on a long flight, make sure that you take some time to stretch and move around. Try to get up every few hours and walk around the cabin, making sure that you switch positions as much as possible. Using neck pillows can also help to reduce stiffness and allow you to rest more comfortably in flight.
Jet lag symptoms are all to do with your circadian rhythm, which is your body's natural clock. Your circadian rhythm is 'set' by activities such as eating, sleeping and exercise, but is also influenced by the hours of daylight where you are. When any of these factors change suddenly, it is always going to take time to adjust. The tips above should help your body recover more quickly, but giving yourself time is key as there is no complete, quick fix cure for jet lag... except maybe staying at home and we definitely wouldn't want that!
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