It’s a situation everyone’s familiar with – you arrive at your holiday destination, excited to get out and explore your surrounds only to be so overcome with fatigue that you can hardly keep your eyes open. Then, come 3am you are wide eyed and desperate for sleep to come!
When we travel across time zones, we offset our internal body clocks, and suffer through disrupted sleep patterns until it naturally acclimatises and resets itself. There’s no set cure for jet lag – it’s just part and parcel of the travel experience and those long-haul flights. But there are a number of ways to assist and speed up your body clock’s process of readjusting to a different time zone. If you’re about to embark on a long international flight, then here are a few pointers to help you beat jet lag and make the most of your time in a new destination.
- Natural light. Once you’ve arrived in your new destination, let your body absorb as much natural sunlight as possible. The body’s natural body clock is set by exposure to the sun, so the more you get, the quicker your body clock will get back to normal.
- Hydration. Jet lag is often most severe when a traveller is dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water while on the flight is a crucial step in preventing jet lag. It might be tempting to have a glass of vino or a beer midflight, but alcohol merely accelerates the dehydration process. The recirculated air in the plane already dehydrates you, so swap that chardonnay for water. Coffee should also be avoided. Drinking as much water as possible while flying is the only way to prevent dehydration.
- Eating. Eating is one important way that indicates time to your body. Three meals a day – at meal times – will help get your body into a regular pattern.
- Sleep patterns. When jet lag hits – or is anticipated – knowing when to sleep can be difficult. On the plane, set your watch to the local time at your destination. Then, attempt to match your sleep within the regular sleeping hours of the destination. Once you’ve arrived, avoid napping. If you must nap, then do so before 2pm in the afternoon. Otherwise, try as hard as possible to sleep at night and reclaim normal sleeping patterns.
Flights that cross time zones are likely to induce a bit of jet lag. The worst thing you can do, however, is panic! The sooner you get into regular patterns, the sooner your body will adjust and you’ll be able to overcome your jet lag.
Hope you learn to overcome jet lag!
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