You’ve heard fellow travellers complain about being jet-lagged but what does it really mean?
Jet lag is when your sleep pattern is disturbed after crossing through time zones, usually on a long-haul flight. People often get jet lag confused with feeling tired and dehydrated after a journey. You can recover from tiredness and dehydration by simply sleeping and drinking plenty water – that one’s a no brainer!
Jet lag is a little more complex… it can affect your levels of alertness, appetite and sleep patterns.
Some of the common symptoms of jet lag are:
- Difficulty sleeping at night
- Drowsiness and struggling to stay alert during the day
- An unusual appetite
- Recurring headaches
- Lack of concentration
- Jet lag can also be associated with indigestion and bloating
Symptoms should improve after a few days once your body clock has adjusted to the new time zone. But usually, the younger you are, the milder the symptoms and the quicker your body clock will get back into sync.
So for all of us out there who aren’t getting any younger… here’s some pointers on how you can reduce the risk and symptoms of jet lag:
On the day you travel and during your flight (as much as possible), fuel your body in the right way by having light, healthy meals. A healthy diet is the best way to arrive feeling refreshed, so eat healthy green foods and stay away from processed and sugary snacks.
Prepare for shut eye
Whether it’s during the flight, or back at the hotel once you’ve arrived, make sure you’re fully equipped to get some serious shut eye. An eye mask, ear plugs and a neck pillow are sometimes crucial to be able to get some quality sleep on the plane, especially if you haven’t reserved your seats and it’s a lucky dip for who you’ll be sat with! As a backup (if sleep is completely off the agenda), prep a relaxing playlist to at least help your body unwind.
Check out NME’s ‘30 sleep-inducing songs’.
Reduce your alcohol intake
Many of us enjoy a relaxing pre-flight tipple, either to unwind before that all important business trip, or simply to kick off your holiday, but if you’re keen to keep jet lag at bay this isn’t the way to do it!
Drinking alcohol at altitude will cause dehydration and increase tiredness, making it even harder to avoid the dreaded jet lag. You’ll reap the most benefits by avoiding alcohol just before, during, and soon after your flight.
Au revoir coffee
Try to avoid those caffeine-heavy drinks such as coffee and energy drinks. The artificial stimulants in caffeine will affect your ability to sleep and therefore increase your chances of feeling the effects of jet lag once you land. Stay hydrated and drink plenty water!
Don’t plan an intensive first day
We’re all keen to make the most of every minute when travelling but planning too much in the first 24 hours, whilst running on a different time zone, could wipe you out for the rest of the trip. Avoid planning the most important aspects of your trip for the first day, if it’s an important business trip, why not arrive a day early to give yourself time to adjust?
In summary, everyone reacts differently to jet lag. Some will be hit hard, and others (probably you young whippersnappers out there) will escape unharmed! Hopefully these tips will help you in the battle against jet lag and have you arriving feeling fresh for that business trip or holiday.
For some, jet lag’s not their only worry when flying – check out these top tips on how to keep that nasty bacteria at bay and avoid getting sick on a flight.
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