Jet lag is an awkward side effect of jet travel when you cross too many time zones for your body’s liking. Face it, most of us have enough problems when we shift just an hour to daylight savings. Follow these tips on avoiding jet lag to help reduce the effects.
Not all these tips are relevant for every trip, especially if you’re travelling on business at short notice, but at least some of them should be useful for you.
1. Adjust your sleep time
Start helping your body clock to adjust to the new time zone by changing the times that you go to sleep at night and awaken in the morning. You’ll start to become accustomed to the new times. Make the adjustment about an hour each night.
2. Set your watch
As soon as you board your flight, set your watch to the new time. We look at our watches an amazingly high amount of times, so adjusting the time as soon as possible will help your mind realize that it’s changing clocks.
3. Drink water. Lots of it
Sure, you can ask the stewardess for water but they have hundreds of other passengers to look after as well. Buy a bottle of water once you’ve passed through airport control and drink plenty of water during your flight.
4. Say no to coffee and alcohol
They both act as dehydrators. So they’ll help to dry up your body even more than the flight already does. Soft drinks or water are to be preferred.
5. Get some rest on the flight
Depending on how enthusiastic the cabin staff are, this may be easier said than done. And if that child behind you rocks your seat once more, then that’s another story. If you get the option, a window seat or one in the center of a block of seats will minimize the number of people who need to ask you to move out of their way. Noise cancelling headphones aren’t standard issue on many flights, so if you are a regular traveler then treat yourself to a set. They really do cut down the disturbance of engine noise.
6. Go walkabout occasionally
OK, this is at odds with getting rest. But sitting down for hours on end isn’t a good idea either. Walk up and down the aisles a few times. Not so much that you’re pacing them but certainly go for this exercise a few times on a long flight. Just be certain not to time your expedition for meal or drinks or duty free services.
7. Adjust to your new time zone on the plane
If it’s daytime at your destination, stay awake. If it’s night where you are going, get some sleep. You can catch up on the in flight entertainment when you’ve got a bigger screen and better sound. Start adjusting as soon as you can.
8. Keep adjusting at your destination
Even if you’ve been on a plane for hours and hours. The sooner you start adjusting, the better. So if you arrive in the dead of night, get to sleep. A dose of melatonin may help here – it’s a natural sleeping aid that’s already produced by your body.