Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or first time flyer, it's likely you'll experience jet lag at some point throughout your travels. Jet lag occurs when your circadian rhythm (body clock) is out of whack. Your body thinks it's in a different time zone, when it's physically somewhere else, so it gets confused, restless and a little silly. While there's no quick cure or magic pill to avoid jet lag completely, there are some simple steps you can take to help minimise the effects. Read on to discover our top 5 ways to beat jet lag.
In the hours (or days if you want to be extra prepared) leading up to your flight, adjust your watch to the local time of your final destination and adjust your routine accordingly. While it may feel odd to eat breakfast for dinner or sleep before you're tired, your brain will start to recognise that it's time to adjust to a different cycle. Not only will this help stimulate sleep, but it will also ensure you arrive in the destination feeling refreshed and ready to explore.
Once you've set your watch to your new destination, it's time to start re-setting your internal body clock. Blocking out light is a great way to beat jet lag because darkness helps promote sleep. When your brain senses darkness, it begins producing melatonin, the natural chemical that initiates sleep. So, if your destination is several hours ahead, we recommend wearing sunglasses until you're ready to snooze, and then use an eye mask to completely block out the light. Noise cancelling headphones are also a great option as well as ear plugs and a comfy pillow for uninterrupted slumber.
We get it, tiny seats, screaming babies, turbulence and annoying announcements make it difficult to sleep on planes, especially if you're stuck in the dreaded middle seat in a constant battle for the arm rest. If you struggle to sleep on planes and an eye mask just won't cut it, try and recreate your usual night time routine as much as possible. If that means wearing comfy pj's and fluffy socks, writing in your journal or applying a face mask and skin mist, then go for it! You may get a few funny looks from your fellow passengers, but if it will help you sleep and reduce jet lag then who cares?!
As tempting as it may be to indulge in the unlimited free booze, alcohol can actually increase your risk of jet lag (and a nasty hangover). Alcohol becomes more potent at high altitudes and dehydrates the body a lot faster. While alcohol may induce sleep quicker, it will significantly reduce the quality of sleep and make the body more restless. If you do want to have a drink, we recommend doing so in the morning or early afternoon, and drink 3 times as much water as you do alcohol.
Once you land in your new destination, it's important to keep adapting your body to the local time zone. Unless you land late at night and can go straight to your hotel, we recommend getting some fresh air and sunshine to help adjust your body clock. While it may be tempting to dive straight into that cosy hotel bed as soon as you arrive, there's a risk you could wake up at 3.a.m and completely ruin your sleep schedule for the coming days. Instead, aim to push through the tiredness and go for a walk around the neighbourhood, see the sights and take in the new environment. Fresh air and natural light are ideal for resetting your internal body clock and you'll be able to sleep easier once night falls.