Travelling is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences you can have. Exploring somewhere new, meeting the locals and trying the food are just a few of the things that make it so great. But there’s one thing that isn’t so great. The dreaded jet lag.
It’s no surprise we get jet lag, after all we are squished into small seats with hundreds of strangers in an aluminium tube, hurtling through the air for hours on end. While this does bring on a stiff body and dehydration, the jet lag part of things comes from the sudden change in our sleep patterns. The more time zones you cross, the more you’re likely to experience jet lag as it messes up your body clock.
While there’s no magic cure to avoid getting jet lag at all, there are a few things you can do to minimise its effects and speed up your recovery time.
1. Adapt before you go
In the lead up to your trip, start adjusting your bedtime. Each night, move your bedtime 30 minutes earlier or 30 minutes later, depending on the time zone you’re travelling to. If you do this in the week leading up to your trip you’ll find it that bit easier to adjust to the new time zone as it won’t be such a rude shock to your body clock.
2. Maximise your sleep
Get as much sleep as you can on the plane at your regular sleeping times. Bringing your own pillow can help keep you comfortable, as can an eye mask and noise-cancelling headphones. A few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow can also be naturally soothing and calming.
3. Stick to your routine
Pack a small toiletry bag for the plan with your bathroom essentials like face wash, moisturiser, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Keep to your usual routine on the plane by getting up to wash your face and brush your teeth before settling down to get some sleep. You can also pack your pyjamas if you like and get changed before ‘bed’.
4. Eat and drink healthily
Rather than maxing out on bags of salty peanuts and bottles of red wine, try eating fresh fruit and staying hydrated with lots of water during the flight. You can pack some fresh fruit in your carry-on and an empty bottle that you can ask the flight attendants to refill for you.
5. Change your clock
As soon as you get on the plane, change the time on your clocks to the time at your destination. It will help you, mentally, begin the process of adjusting to the new time zone.
6. Keep moving
It’s really easy to get deep into a movie marathon on those long-haul flights because all you want to do is get it over with! But, it really is important you keep your body moving. Do an in-seat stretching routine every hour on the hour and get up and go for a walk to stretch your legs every so often too.
7. Fresh air and rest
If you arrive during the day, do your very best to stay awake until an appropriate sleep time. This is a great time for you to get outdoors and get some fresh air to help your body recover. When it’s time to go to sleep, take a nice warm shower or bath beforehand to relax your body, drink a cup of chamomile tea if you can, have a big drink of water and climb into bed for a much-needed rest.
How do you combat jet lag? Share your tips in the comments below!