Top tips to combat jet lag!

Close up of a tiger sitting in the shade rubbing his eye and licking his nose.

Jet lag is something that you can never predict. Sometimes you travel long distances and feel fine from the moment you arrive. At other times it seems you just can’t shake that ‘upside down’ feeling of being constantly tired and fighting to enjoy every moment on your trip.

Jet lag is a result of the body trying to adjust to a new time zone. It can often make you feel tired, dizzy and lack appetite. Jet lag strikes most often when travelling east as you struggle to fall asleep at night time and struggle even more to get up in the morning. When travelling west it is often the case that you will experience overwhelming sleepiness in the early evening and awaken pre-dawn in the early hours!

But don’t let jet lag put you off travelling, here are a few great tips to help get through it quickly and return to a normal pattern:

  1. Try to avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol before bedtime, both these substances with either keep you awake or send you to sleep for short periods of time.
  2. Set your phone and watch to the time of your destination as early as possible when you start your flight. This way you will not be thinking about ‘what the time is at home’ and how you should be tucked up in bed instead of eating breakfast!
  3. It is always wise to travel on flights that arrive at your destination early in the evening. This is a good way to get some extra sleep but in the new time zone so you wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
  4. Avoid eating really heavy meals on flights, problems with digestion can contribute to sleeping problems.
  5. Don’t take naps! It may sound silly but trying to keep awake when you feel jet lagged will aid you in adjusting to the new time zone much more quickly.
  6. Try to get as much daylight as possible and natural melatonin which will aid in adjusting your body clock faster. You can also buy melatonin tablets which help regulate your body clock.
  7. Try to take it easy on the days leading up to your long haul flight. Vary your sleeping and eating times so that you are not in a rigid pattern.
  8. Sleep well before your flight! It will be much easier to adjust to a new time zone if you have given yourself the best chance to relax.
  9. If possible try to do a stop over and break your flight into two. A night’s sleep will help you adjust to the new time zone.
  10. Avoid sleeping pills, there is no advantage to combating jet lag by arriving drowsy and confused when you land. Drink herbal tea on the plane and try to fall asleep naturally!

Photo of an Air Canada plane at the airport. Combat jet-lag on the plane and prepare yourself for when you arrive into the country.

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