Guest post by Olivia Bourke
Jet lag is one substantial drawback of traveling that can affect you upon arrival at either destination. This can typically ruin the first few moments of your trip, depending on how horrid it may be.
Traveling across many time zones can be daunting for the body and mind, making jet lag a serious concern for people on longer flights. Jet lag causes fatigue and insomnia which leads to irritation, disorientation, loss of concentration and headaches. The body is naturally in sync and has been accustomed to the night and especially the day of the local time zone. Countries that are particularly further apart would be tougher to adjust. With every hour of difference in a time zone it would typically take one day to recover.
Besides the destination, there are many other factors that can be at play. Jet lag could take a couple of days, to a week to recuperate. There is no direct remedy or fix for jet lag, but it can be prevented with these careful tips and hacks with how well you prepare and plan your pre-flight, on-flight and after-flight.
Beat Jet Lag With These Tips:
This is one tough factor to alter, but the destination does matter. Traveling to a destination that is eastward is running against the body clock, making it more difficult to adjust. While going westward simply prolongs the body clock, having a lesser effect. So flying London to Sydney would be harder on the body than say Sydney to Paris. So if possible, you could consider taking a westward route.
This is crucial! Having enough sleep before travel lessens the effects. Being sleep-deprived makes jet lag worse.
You can beat jet lag by sleeping accordingly to the destination’s time zone in advance. So, if the destination is a few hours behind your current timezone, for a couple of days leading towards the flight sleep a few extra hours later than normal.
On the day of travel eat normal, but right before the flight and especially during, avoid food altogether. You would want to fast during this period and it should be at least 14-16 hours. Upon arrival, try to eat at the same time with the local mealtimes.
This is quite controversial and should be discussed with your doctor beforehand. This includes supplements and medication such as melatonin. Making sure you know how they work before taking them for the first time on-flight.
Drink plenty of water and avoid or limit alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Many jump to the conclusion and believe this may help, but it actually confuses your body and makes the jet lag worse.
Eat lighter meals such as fruits and veggies. Also, eat many small meals rather than a couple big meals. Avoid eating starchy and heavy foods.
While on flight try and sleep with the consideration of the time that is of the destination. Ideally, you would want to mimic the time zone before you land. If you do find it difficult to sleep, bring optional extras such as earplugs, eye masks and most definitely neck pillows. Comfortable clothes also help!
Once you have landed, try and be active, being in the sun or bright lighting if it is in the day. Lighting helps reset the body clock. So if you are advancing your body clock, traveling east, you need to seek morning light and avoid late afternoon light. This would help your body clock adjust earlier. Traveling west you would want to do the opposite.
Alcoholic and caffeinated drinks can now be consumed, but do drink in moderation. However, avoid drinking these a few hours before bedtime.
If you do train or exercise, try and train at the same time you usually train in the new time zone. So if it is 8 am or 6 pm, stick to those routines for the first few days. This tricks your body and brain’s biological clock. Try and get in a solid cardio workout to work off the stress from the long flight. However, avoid intense exercise as your body is still acclimatizing.
Copying your usual bedtime routine would be great if possible or use relaxation techniques. So, if you usually watch tv or read before bed try and mimic that.
If you are traveling for a short period say a weekend and not traveling far, less than 3 time zones, it is better to not adjust at all. Jet lag can take anywhere from a few hours to a week to adjust. Making sure that you do not have important meetings or events on the day of arrival is ideal. So, prepare in advance and get ready to combat jet lag with these hacks and travel tips.
Wow! Thank you so much for the great advice, Olivia! I will certainly be using these tips on my next flight. If you are interested in submitting a guest travel post, please click here to tell me more about your idea. You don’t have to be a writer or blogger! I have opened this section up to anyone who wants to share a travel story or travel tips.
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