5 Tips for Beating Jet Lag
There is no end of tips for beating jet lag to be read on the internet, found in travel books or told to you by family and friends. But do they really work?
It seems to be a really individual thing, and then it can be different from flight to flight. But from my experiences of jet lag – here are my top five tips to help you perhaps not totally beat jet lag, but at least feel a bit more human when you start your trip.
Tip #1: Are You a Night-Flyer or Not?
If you are really keen to avoid jet lag on your long haul flights, you might consider this in your planning stages. You need to determine if you are good at sleeping on planes or not. Then you’ve got two choices: if you can sleep like a baby in your seat, then you can time your flight to include an “overnight” leg, which means one that arrives at your destination in the morning (you will then need to stay awake all day – see Tip #3)
If you never get more than a few winks of sleep then you should on the plane then go for a “daytime” flight that lands in the late afternoon or evening. At this time, you will be so exhausted from prolonged lack of sleep that you’ll be asleep the minute your head hits the pillow at the correct time in your new destination.
Tip #2: Get It Right While You’re Still on the Plane
The experts, whoever they may be, are always saying that you should drink lots of water, not too much alcohol and get up and move around the plane regularly. They are definitely on the right track with this advice. As tempting as it can be to indulge in that free wine on a long flight, if you must have wine try to limit it to one small glass with a meal. This one glass may help you sleep if that is a problem for you. Jet lag recovery time should definitely decrease following these simple suggestions.
Tip #3: No Sleep Until Bedtime
If you do nothing else, do this. No matter what time you arrive at your destination, don’t go to bed until it’s night time there. This can be a big difficult especially if you arrive really early morning and need to survive the whole day. You might want to sleep desperately, but be disciplined, stay busy, take a long walk, do whatever it takes so that your body can start adjusting to the new time zone as soon as possible.
At the very least, last until around nine in the evening before you hit the sack, or if you absolutely must take a nap, make it a quick power nap no longer than an hour. Likewise, if your body clock doesn’t want to go to bed, make it. Don’t stay up past midnight even if you’re not tired. It’s all about getting used into the new time zone as quickly as possible.
Tip #4: Don’t Lie Awake For Hours
Your body clock might think that the middle of the night is actually morning and you should wake up. Personally, I think the worst thing you can do when that happens is to lie there for hours trying to get back to sleep, you will just feel more exhausted in the morning.
Perhaps get up, make a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate and try to sleep again till morning. If you do get up, don’t make the room too light, or your body will think it was right about it being morning already.
Aromatherapy to the rescue: Lavender and geranium (in oils and body creams) help some people sleep. If, on the other hand you need something to keep you energised try rosemary and eucalyptus oils. Shops specializing in aromatherapy products also offer a variety of blends.
Tip #5: Think Positive …
Jet lag seems to be more apparent if you travel from east to west and unless you have the luxury of planning an around the world trip and choosing the direction you start then this is not always an option.
Many people have said that jet lag is more noticeable when you return home than when you head off on your journey. So, does that mean that a portion of jet lag is purely psychological – when you are excited to get out and explore in a new destination means that feeling a bit tired and out of sorts doesn’t bother you half as much?
There are also dozens of natural or herbal remedies, over the counter medications or magic drinks that advertise they can help – if you find one that works for you then go for it, but there’s definitely no cure-all.
Stay active, stay positive, get back into your time zone and normal routine as quickly as you can and don’t dwell on your jet lag – it may just disappear that bit faster!