The secret to combating jet lag, and arriving at your destination with little or no jet lag, lies in sound preparation well in advance of your date of travel. This, however, is only the foundation of your “anti jet lag" plan and all of your sound preparatory work will be wasted if you don't also ensure that you follow a sensible routine during your flight.
Here are just five of the many things that you can do during your flight to reduce, or eliminate, the effects of jet lag:
1. Make sure that you get adequate rest.
Many people find that they can't, or simply don't want to, sleep during their flight. This is fine, although trying to get some sleep can certainly be helpful. If you can't, or don't want to sleep, then you should at least ensure that you take the opportunity to rest and should also try to plan your rest so that you will be aligned as far as is possible with the time at your destination.
If, for example, your twelve hour flight will get you to your destination early in the morning, try to get some sleep during the second half of the flight.
2. Make use of simple, natural sleep remedies.
If sleeping during the flight proves difficult, even with the use of such things as ear plugs and an eye mask to help simulate nighttime conditions, you may be tempted to resort to the use of sleeping pills. Don't succumb to this temptation!
A discussion on the rights and wrongs of using sleeping pills is beyond the scope of this article (although I do cover the subject in depth in articles and elsewhere on http://help-me-to-sleep.com) but, suffice it to say, that the use of sleeping pills during your flight will add to the problem of jet lag, rather than assist in reducing its effects.
There are however a number of natural sleep remedies available today which can provide a very effective solution. Of these chamomile and lavender, often taken in the form of a tea, are perhaps the best known. If these don't work in your particular case, then a slightly stronger and extremely good alternative would be either valerian root or melatonin.
3. Relax to soft, soothing music.
As an alternative to sleep, or indeed in addition to sleeping, try listening to soft, soothing music in preference to watching the in-flight movies. Even better; try some form of gentle meditation or relaxation exercises. This will not only help reduce the effects of jet lag, but will also help maintain a normal level of blood pressure and good circulation throughout a long flight.
4. Ensure that you take some exercise.
Although it can be tempting to stay in your seat throughout the flight, getting up from time to time and strolling around the cabin will refresh your body and promote both mental and physical activity. Some light exercise, particularly for your legs, will also help prevent the possibility of deep vein thrombosis – clots forming in the legs.
5 Keep yourself well hydrated.
The artificial environment created within the aircraft cabin by both pressurization and forced ventilation can lead to dehydration and so it is extremely important that you maintain your fluid levels. Drink plenty of water or fruit juice, but avoid tea and coffee and other caffeinated drinks. You should also avoid carbonated drinks and alcohol.
One part of the secret to arriving refreshed at your destination after a long flight is to ensure that you take the opportunity to rest and relax during the flight and that you avoid stimulants. Taking the simple steps outlined here will certainly go a long way towards preventing jet lag.
Copyright 2005 Donald Saunders
Donald Saunders is the author of a number of health related publications on the subject of coping with insomnia and overcoming jet lag . Drop by his website today and pick up your free copy of “How To Get A Good Night's Sleep".