When you’re heading overseas, jet lag is one of the last things you want to be worrying about. Unfortunately for many, the symptoms of jet lag can leave you feeling sluggish for the duration of your trip. Whilst jet lag can be a difficult thing to prevent, there are a few tricks that can stop the symptoms from ruining your time abroad.
Change your sleeping schedule
Keep an eye on when you’re heading to bed every night and try to change your sleeping schedule prior to your departure date. This can preemptively help you adjust to the local schedule of your destination. If you’re heading west, try sleeping an hour or two later than your normal bedtime. If you’re heading east, move your bedtime up an hour or two. It’s recommended you do this for 2 to 3 weeks before your departure date, to help acclimate to the different time zone.
Maintain normal diet and exercise
Make sure you don’t use your holiday as an excuse to neglect your normal routine. Keeping fit and eating well in the days before your departure will help you prevent jet lag and fight off the symptoms. Avoiding foods high in carbohydrates and fat before you head to bed will help you to both fall asleep easier and and enjoy a more restful sleep.
Flights can be tiring, even if you’re not engaging in high energy activities. Getting up and walking the aisle every so often will keep your body moving and your brain active. Periodically stretching and bending your knees will help prevent your body from feeling stiff and sore.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine
These two beverages should not be consumed on the day before, day of and day after your flight. Both alcohol and caffeine are dehydrating, disruptive to sleep and cause discomfort for travellers. Avoiding them will help reduce chances of nausea, and improves your chances of a peaceful sleep.
Adjust your clock
This is a psychological change that offers real benefits in recovering from jet lag. During the flight, change your watch or phone to the local time of your destination. This will help your mind adjust to the schedule of your destination and will encourage you to start thinking of your day according to the different time zone.
Just like walking around, keeping hydrated during the flight is a simple way to prevent jet lag. Airplane air is dry and dehydrating, so sipping water throughout your flight will help keep your hydration up and your sluggishness down. It’s also a simple way of staying alert without caffeine.
If you’re travelling to a specific event, try to arrive at your destination a few days in advance. This will allow time to adjust to the local time zone and means you won’t be feeling tired or sluggish when you’re ready to see the sights.
Stay aware of daylight
Your body’s circadian rhythm takes daylight into account when it adjusts to a new time zone. Heading outside in the daylight when you arrive at your destination will wake your body up and remind it to be active. If it’ll be night time when you arrive at your destination, try to refrain from sleeping on the plane.
Pack for sleep
Travelling on a long haul flight often mean you’ll be catching some sleep one way or another. Packing a neck pillow for your flight means you can rest in comfort and won’t wake with painful neck cramps. Noise cancelling earphones help to filter out noise and increase the chance of a rejuvenating sleep, while eye masks help to block out sleep disrupting light.