Preparing for a long haul flight? If your journey takes you across multiple time zones, the chances of you suffering from jet lag could be fairly high. But by taking a few precautions beforehand, during your flight and even after you’ve arrived, you may be able to avoid jet lag completely.
What are the symptoms of jet lag?
Before going any further, we first need to learn a little more about it. So firstly, what actually is jet lag?
Well, when travelling across time zones, your body’s natural routine (or “body clock”) can become disorientated. If you’re used to going to bed at 11pm, for instance, the difference in time zones will change that completely and, once you’ve landed at your destination, you could find you’re ready to go to bed at 6am instead!
So tiredness (or a disturbed sleep pattern) is clearly one of the symptoms, but what else can jet lag cause? Amongst other things, you may find that you also suffer from:
Tips to beat jet lag
So, what steps can you take to avoid jet lag on your next long haul flight?
Be sure to…
- Change your sleeping pattern beforehand – If possible, a few days before your flight, try to trick your body into thinking it’s tired earlier or later than usual by altering what time you go to bed and what time you wake up
- Rest on the flight – Onboard your flight, dedicate a significant amount of time to getting plenty of rest; this may reduce fatigue when you eventually land and help you stay more alert
- Change the time on your watch – Simple little tricks such as adjusting your watch to the new time zone whilst still onboard can make the world of difference. That way, when you glance down at your wrist, you will become accustomed to what time is showing, maybe even forgetting the time change completely
- Eat light meals – This one is fairly logical; if you eat heavy meals during your flight, you’re more likely to feel full, bloated and tired afterwards. Eating lighter, healthier meals instead can help to prevent this
- Take regular walks – This one’s highly recommended; not only will small walks help to keep you alert, the regular movement will help reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Stay hydrated – Another logical one as drinking plenty of water can keep you from feeling lethargic
- Take jet lag medication, if required – In some cases, the only way to truly combat jet lag can be to take treatment. Be sure to speak to your doctor before your journey so they can advise on what medication you should be taking.
Avoiding jet lag isn’t just about focusing on what you should be doing though. There are a few things you shouldn’t be doing too, such as ingesting certain food and drink.
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating junk food, or heavy meals
- Drinking fizzy, sugary drinks
- Drinking coffee
At the end of the day though, no matter what precautionary steps you take, chances are it will take a few days before your body can naturally adjust itself into a new routine; after all, you are travelling across different time zones and your body is experiencing major upheaval.
So there are also a few things we recommend you do once you’ve left the plane to help your body adjust. These include:
- Spending plenty of time outside in natural light to get used to your new surroundings
- Carrying out a little light exercise every morning and evening to help improve your sleep and blood circulation. This doesn’t need to be anything too taxing; something as small as stretching or light yoga can make all the difference
- Being sure to eat a filling and healthy, protein-filled breakfast the morning after you arrive. Not only will this set you up for the day ahead, it will also help to keep you alert when your body would naturally start to prepare itself for the end of the day