My top tips on How to prevent jet lag
I am not a doctor and do not claim to have any qualifications but I travel a lot and these are tips that I have learnt from fellow travellers as well as research I have done for my own travels. Hopefully they will help you reduce the risk of Jet Lag as I didn’t get it until a couple of years ago and it hit me bad I felt so ill so I do everything I can now as I don’t want to feel like that again.
What is jetlag
According to NHS UK “Jet lag is when your normal sleep pattern is disturbed after a long flight. Symptoms usually improve within a few days as your body adjusts to the new time zone.” https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/jet-lag/
What are the symptoms of jet lag
I have only had jet lag a couple of times. I never got it going or coming home from Australia but I did get it when I came home from Vietnam and it made me feel like I was coming down with the flu I was achy and really didn’t feel well for about two days. I had bad headaches and was tired but couldn’t sleep.
It is strange as I didn’t get it when I came home from India either. I did a couple of things differently. When I came home from Australia, I took some over the counter medication that was supposed to help with jet lag so maybe it really did work. I don’t know for sure but here are some tips that may help reducing the risk of getting jet lag.
Tips to reduce Jet lag
There are many pieces of advice for jet lag prevention. I am not an expert and like I said different things work for different people these are things I have found out from doing research some have worked for me others haven’t and I hope you can find something that helps you reduce jetlag as it can be a bummer if it hits you.
Before the trip although not always easy, but rest. You could start moving your sleep pattern in preparation so if the time zone is 8 hours ahead start going to bed an hour later for the few days leading up to trip or getting up an hour later.
Daily life might not let you do this as obviously you don’t want to be late for work as I said you need to start having an extra hour in bed, I don’t think your boss is going to like that. If it is possible though do, try this as I do it and it does work.
Change to time zone when you get on the plane
I read that as you board the plane move your clock to the time zone in the country you will be visiting. I tried this and it really did work I wasn’t as tired I didn’t have jet lag when I got to the destination. This means you are moving the times you will sleep and eat. This is not always possible on a plane as you eat when you are served the food but if you can try and eat at the normal time you would in the new time zone.
It is also a good idea to sleep when it is supposed to be night. I don’t listen to this rule though as I love sleeping on planes I think my anxiety medication knocks me out and as soon as the plane is in the air I am ready for a nap, unless there is a good film I want to watch.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
This is a common tip for long haul flying in general. I don’t drink much on planes as it does make me feel worse but if you are flying business class then I would say have your free champagne it would be rude not too. Just don’t go overboard as it may make you feel worse.
Drink lots of water I know this is going to make you want to use the toilet more and some people avoid using the toilet on planes but I would rather get up and go to the loo than get a headache because I am dehydrated. It also plays on my anxiety if I get dehydrated, I start to shake and feel like crap which can bring on an anxiety attack, so I make sure I drink plenty.
Another thing that is important to keep your skin hydrated whilst flying, not sure this will help with jet lag so much, but it will make you feel fresher in general. Use a moisturiser when flying that is why you are often given a small body lotion in your night pack if you fly with an airline that give these out.
I will take a small bottle of lotion in my hand luggage and use it regularly or most airlines have body or hand lotion in the toilets so use it every time after popping to the loo.
Any moisturiser will do, my favourite is Aveeno as its a great all over body moisturiser. It is not too harsh for use on my face as I get sores from my medication this moisturiser doesn’t sting and really sooths. I have not come across it in travel size bottle but I buy a large bottle and put it into my travel size containers for use on the plane.
Arriving at destination and home after a long-haul flight
Avoid napping when you get to the hotel if its in the morning or afternoon. if you didnt get enough sleep on the plane or you still feel tired the first thing you are going to want to do when you get home or get to your hotel room is get in the comfy bed but if it’s only 11 o’clock in the morning then avoid napping until it is your usual sleep time.
The same when you get home try and stick to your regular sleep pattern. I personally sleep love an afternoon nap and I have got home from my trip at 1pm and gone straight to bed and then not be able to sleep at night so if you can try and stay away, maybe have a warm bath and an early night but don’t go to bed too many hours before your normal time as it seems like a great idea but you are likely to wake in the early hours and then be wide awake.
Try and eat at normal time as well to get your body back into the right time zone it might be best to avoid the steak dinner if you are now in a time zone and its 4am although you are starving I would suggest sleeping and waiting for breakfast.
Again, keep hydrating, get sunshine and fresh air if it is now daytime then go out and breath in the air, I find this help rather than being cooped up in hotel room even if all you want to do is sleep go out.
If I arrive at the hotel in the morning, I will dump my bag and go off to explore to stop myself from napping because if I sit down on the bed I will want to go to sleep.
I know I am going to get a decent amount of seep at the night as I don’t go out partying until all hours but that’s just me.
Try and get back into your normal routine as quickly as possible if you work then it might be best to go straight back to work rather than taking the day off and napping all day. If you wake at 4am avoid getting up as this again will put your sleep pattern out of zinc. A little helping hand to help relax some people find camomile tea helps again its avoiding caffeine or alcohol.
Workout if it is your thing obviously it is not mine and if I suddenly went into the gym then my body is going to go into shock rather than jetlag but if its something you normally do I have heard that exercise can help reduce the effects of jetlag.
Other helping aids for Jet Lag
You might need a helping had to reduce the risk of Jet Lag and there are many products on the market here are some that I have used and would recommend.
I tried the Fly Energise Gum on my way to Cambodia and my Asia trip. It has a liquid centre that bursts in your mouth and this woke me up anyway as it was a burst of minty fresh. I also used the Fly Energise Gum when I was travelling around Asia to wake me up on long bus journeys. However when I was entering Singapore I had to discard as it is banned to take chewing gum into the country so I didn’t get to try the gum on the way home which is when I think I would have needed it as I tend to get jet lag coming home rather than going out.
I think it did help with waking me up so I would recommend it for travelling. However, the gum is in large pieces and quickly loses it flavour so have a quick chew get the liquid out and then discard otherwise you might end up with jaw ache. Also, it might not be the best for travelling in hot countries as it did melt and make a bit of a mess.
* I was gifted the gum to try
Over the counter Tablets
On the way back from Australia I got some tablets that claimed to be a jet lag remedy, from the airport. I took then during the flight and kept hydrated and I didn’t have jet lag, maybe it was the tablets, but something worked, and I will try these again when flying long haul.
Taking melatonin for a few days before and after flight can help ive not tried it for Jetlag but experienced travellers do recommend it.
I was recommended it when I was suffering from fatigue and insomnia which sounds funny have both at the same time, but I was so tired but wide awake. It did help then so I can see why it is recommended to help with Jet Lag.
If you are going for the more natural approach certain essential oils are supposed to reduce jet lag. You won’t be able to take your whole kit if you are into essential oils, but you can take a few bottles in your liquid bag in your hand luggage. Ginger and peppermint oils help when travelling.
Do you have any tips on how to overcome jet lag that I have not mentioned if so please share as I would love to try it on my next long haul trip.
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