The Olive Press’ new travel blogger Dawn Richard offers her advice on how best to deal with jet lag…
JET LAG is the most common issue faced by travellers. Read through this guide on jet lag and learn how best you can minimise its effects.
Whether you are a frequent flyer or a onetime leisure traveller, flying across time zones to a distant location can take a toll on your body.
All of a sudden it’s seven in the morning outside but your body says it is midnight and time to sleep.
It is this dissonance that causes stress to your body. Every day millions of travellers across the globe battle ‘jet lag’ – one of the most common sleep disorders.
Jet lag brings along with it insomnia, confusion, lack of concentration, loss of appetite or hunger pangs at odd hours and irritability.
It is easy to adjust the time in your watch when you cross Atlantic, but not for your body and mind. It is not possible to avert jet lag, however by adopting below mentioned tips you can definitely minimise its effects.
Take proper rest before leaving home
Flying across continents is tiring. Pack wisely and at least two days prior your departure date. To be physically ready for a flight have an orderly and peaceful night before your travel day. Eat light and don’t indulge in any wild bon-voyage party. All this will ensure that you are mentally relaxed and physically fit to face the travel blues.
Align your inner clock
If you are travelling time zones, it is important to prepare your body for the same. It is advisable to change your eating and sleeping schedules as per the arrival destination at least four days in advance. By doing this your body will get sufficient time to adapt to your new local routine.
Book overnight flights
Overnight flights will give you ample time to sleep rather than an afternoon flight. This will turn out to be the best way to duplicate your regular schedule. You can enjoy on-board diner and catch few hours of sleep, allowing your body stay fresh and energetic, the day you land. To reduce noise use earplugs or noise cancellation headphones, cover your eyes with an eye-shade to kill the light and rotate the air-conditioning valve on high and you are ready to enter into your dreamland.
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Before stepping out of the aircraft don’t just reset your watch but your mind too. Do not think about what time it is back home, this will just extend your jet lag.
Drink lots and lots of water and other fluids. Cabin air on the aircraft makes skin dry and dehydration just accentuates jet lag. Experts suggest that one must drink at least two 8-ounce glasses of water before departure and 1 litre for every hour spent during flight. It is important to drink water even if you do not feel thirsty.
Restrict your coffee
As far as possible one should stay away from all kinds of caffeine products during flight. It is true that caffeine can help you stay awake for hours; however on the negative side it will wake you many times during your sleep and will even trim your sleep duration.
Stay away from alcohol
Avoid consumption of alcohol during your flight. If this is not possible then at least limit your consumption. Change in altitude accelerates the effect of alcohol. One drink during the flight has the same effect as two or three drinks when consumed on the ground. You might feel relaxed post having a drink but the dehydration caused will yield an exasperate jet lag symptom.
Fly first or business class
If you have a long-haul flight then try to book yourself on a First or Business Class seat. Sitting erect in a tight economy class seat will just increase your fatigue levels. Lying in a flatter position on lie- flat seats during your long travelling hours will give far superior quality of sleep. Stay rest assured that you will arrive at your destination city energetic, fresh and raring to go.
The key to remain fresh during your flight is to ensure that you do not over-stuff yourself. Large portions and rich food will make it all the more hard for your body to adjust, and symptoms like diarrhea and constipation may occur. Eat food high on fibre and restrict having foods that are easy to digest. Avoid eating airline food as it is prepared keeping the home time zone in mind and not the one of your arrival city. Healthy snacking is the best way to minimise jet lag.
Step out of your seat at regular intervals to stretch your muscles and walk. Stretching and flexing your muscles will maintain blood circulation in your body. Exercises that can be done while sitting in your seat can also come handy and aid in relaxing your body and mind.
You must also wear loose fitting clothes. Also you should bring along a neck-pillow, nice hydrating moisturizer, lip balm and other toiletries to sooth your skin. High heels or wingtips should be avoided as they may cause swollen feet.
Fly a day early
Try to reach your destination a day early. This will give you enough time to adjust to the new routine. This is highly recommended for high-level business officials traveling for a business meeting or a conference. Planning a meeting for the first day of the week i.e. Monday will allow them to reach their destination by Saturday or Sunday, giving enough time to acclimatise.
Once you have reached your destination, try to remain outdoors for a while. Get as much sunlight as possible. This will help your brain and body to adjust with the local environment and time clock. Do not hook onto the TV or hit the bed once inside your hotel room. If needed take a power nap of maximum 20 minutes. Any minute more than that and your jet lag will just exasperate.
Protein rich breakfast
The morning after you arrive have a protein rich breakfast. This will make your senses more alert. A meal rich in protein gives your brain neurochemicals, an organic substance required to improve vigilance.
Get tech savvy
In today’s world technology plays an important role. Everyone nowadays has smartphone’s loaded with travel apps. To fight jet lag techno savvy flyers can make use of a popular jet lag mobile application. All they need to do is to enter their flight details and the app will advise them on when to sleep, eat, drink and walk.