5 practical ways to combat jet lag
Many people associate jet lag with the long haul flights to Australia and New Zealand, but it’s very normal to experience this disturbed sleeping pattern in shorter trips to regions such as the Caribbean and East Asia.
Jet lag is essentially the disruption of your sleep pattern as a result of travelling. Your normal body clock is put out and you’ll initially find it difficult to acclimatise to the new time zone.
Experts suggest jet lag is worse for travellers journeying from west to east as the body finds it more difficult to adjust to a shorter day. For us in the UK, this would include countries such as Singapore, Thailand, India, China and Japan.
Dr Dawn Harper explains a little more on how jet lag affects our bodies: “Our body clock is primed to respond to a regular rhythm of daylight and darkness. It is thrown out of sync when it experiences daylight at what it considers the wrong time, and it can take several days to readjust.”
Five ways to combat jet lag
However, whilst jet lag will more than likely affect your travelling at some point, there are some great ways to minimise its impact. The following five tips are designed to help you better combat jet lag.
- Manually adjust your body clock
One way you can start preparing for an alternate time zone is to adjust your sleeping pattern a few days before travelling. Take a look at the time difference between the UK and your destination and try to coordinate eating and sleeping times so they’re closer to what’ll be your routine when holidaying.
- Choose overnight flights
Many long haul flights will be scheduled to depart early morning or late evening. If you have the choice, opt for an overnight flight to your destination, as there’s a much greater chance of you getting sleep. If you arrive in the country in morning or afternoon it’ll be easier for your body to cope with the sudden change in time.
- Stay hydrated & avoid coffee
On a day-to-day basis you should try and stay as hydrated as possible, but for long haul flights this will certainly help you beat jet lag quicker. Expert advice is to drink approximately eight ounces of water for every hour you’re travelling, even if not thirsty. We also suggest steering clear of caffeine throughout the flight, particularly tea and coffee. Whilst you may find it helps you stay awake, it has a nasty habit of waking you up early once you’ve finally managed to drift off.
- Try to avoid drinking alcohol
Don’t panic! We’re not telling you to stop drinking alcohol full stop. Instead, just try to limit the amount you consume inflight, as alcohol can be two or three times more effective at altitude. Whilst a drink may help you to relax, too many and your body will dry out, worsening jet lag symptoms.
- Sleep as much as possible
If you take a look at our recent blog on apps to help you sleep, you’ll find some useful ones for combatting jetlag. Any form of travelling can be very tiring, whether you’re driving to Europe or jet setting to the over side of the world.
Getting as much sleep as possible will help you tackle jetlag and as you’ve probably experienced, it can be difficult to get a little shuteye on a commercial plane. If you can, book yourself on first or business class where it’ll be easier to relax, whilst window seats are desirable for propping a pillow.
So there you have it; five great ways to combat jetlag when travelling. If you can, try to implement as many of the above as possible and you’ll quickly see just how manageable jetlag will actually be.
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