What causes jetlag?
Recovery from jet lag becomes so much easier when we understand what it is, and how it affects our bodies.
The human body is naturally programmed to do some things throughout a 24-hour period, such as eating, sleeping, relieving ourselves. These routines form a part of our circadian rhythm, and when we fly through different time zones, those rhythms are thrown into disarray.
Moving through time zones can play havoc with our bodies, leading to extreme fatigue, indigestion, bowel problems, loss of appetite, and memory and concentration issues. Sounds terrible, right? Well, these are the most common effects of jet lag, but we can all be affected in different ways, you might experience all the symptoms, or just one or two.
Unfortunately, this means that it takes different people different time to overcome it. Jet lag doesn’t just affect different people in different ways. The effects also vary according to age, health, and stress levels.
Certain countries, or rather travel directions are better than others; west is best, east is a beast. This happens because you’ll be trying to sleep when your body is waking up, which means that you’ll be forced to get up at what feels like the middle of the night.
Your body is better equipped to cope with a longer day, than a shorter one.
How to prevent Jet Lag- Tips for before, during and after your flight.
Relax your schedule.
Try to relax your rigid daily routine during the days before your flight. Having a tight schedule will make it much harder to adjust to new time zones. If you can be flexible about what time you go to sleep, and what time you eat, among other things, you’ll be starting your trip with a major advantage.
Get a good night’s sleep
Whether you can’t sleep because you’re super excited, or because you are trying to tire yourself out to sleep on the flight, don’t. Last minute changes to your routine will make it harder to adjust to new times zones.
A good night’s sleep before your flight will leave you much better equipped to cope with jet lag. (and much more relaxed to deal with those difficult passengers on your flight!)
Avoid Arriving at night
If you can opt for a flight that arrives during daylight hours. This will make it much easier for you to stay awake- you’ll be much, much more tempted to get out and explore if the sun’s shining and you’ve got a full day ahead of you.
Be plane savvy.
You don’t need to be a plane-spotter to know that the most recent planes (A350’s, A380’s and 787) are the best planes for helping to beat jet lag. Their hi-tech humidification systems help retain air moisture, and LED lighting systems to simulate natural phases of the day, which helps stave off jet lag.
Split up the trip
Try and build in a stopover, so that you have more time to adapt to the new routine. This can also make your ticket price, ever so much cheaper.
Avoid the bar.
Tempting as it is to kick off your holiday with a mimosa or a gin and tonic, the effects of alcohol at altitude will only increase tiredness and cause dehydration (far beyond its usual effects), making it even harder to beat jet lag.
No-no to Sleeping pills
Relying on sleeping pills for long-haul flights is a bad idea. They’ll do nothing to assist your recovery and will likely just leave you feeling fuzzy-headed when you land.
Say goodbye to coffee
We all know that caffeine means that we stay awake, which is great for getting us through the workday. Less great for when we need to be able to sleep to enjoy our fantastic holiday.
Caffeine, like alcohol, will also cause dehydration, beyond its usual level at altitude.
Drink heaps of water
Your body functions best when it’s properly hydrated, so drinking tonnes of water is a great way to offset the effects of jet lag.
And ensure you don’t start your holiday with a hangover.
Set your watch
When you get onboard the plane, set your watch to your destination to get yourself psychologically aligned.
Don’t get smart and do this beforehand- unless you want the world’s worst excuse for missing your flight. Ever.
A kind of extreme tip is to start eating three meals a day in line with your new time zone, even if that means cornflakes at 11 pm.
Right before bed. Because you do not want to miss your flight.
And you want a good night’s sleep.
Get as much sunshine as you can. Daylight will always make you feel better unless you’ve been up all night.
Don’t stay up all night.
Get a good night’s sleep!!
Get some exercise
Post-flight exercise will help to boost your endorphins and stretch out any kinks which have developed on your flight.
A boost of endorphins will also help you to stay wide awake, give you the energy to enjoy the first day of your holiday, instead of feeling lethargic.
Get some sleep
Try to get as much sleep as you normally would. Go to bed early and try to sleep in a little the next day.
The only real cure for jet lag is trying to be as healthy as you can- plenty of fruit and vegetables, plenty of water, plenty of sleep, and a good helping of endorphin boosting exercise.
What’s your best tip for jet lag recovery?