Getting up super early for a flight, then arriving either the next day, or back in time at your new destination can be a challenge, but you deal with it because the trip – whatever it may be – is worth it. But jet lag can be a bitch.
For some jet lag can ruin the experience, especially if it’s a long-haul flight for say, a week’s holiday, which means your body won’t adjust to the local time zone until the 3th, 4th or 5th day, depending on how many time zones you cross.
I hate feeling groggy and overtired. I tend to get bad headaches and stomach aches and bad skin when I fly more than 6 hours! When I flew to from London to New York, I got exactly that and ended up feeling terrible for the first few days. Luckily, New York City is so amazing and it was my first visit, so the jet lag didn’t completely ruin it for me because I was just like a big kid at Christmas!
But there are ways to feel human again before, during and after your flight. I’ve listed five ways to help beat jet lag, so you don’t waste precious time falling asleep face-down in your dinner, or wide awake at night with nothing to do but look at the stars. Although, both do sound fun!
Sweat it out
The day before you travel, treat your body to a good, hard workout. It will tire you out, helping you get a good night’s sleep before, and, according to research, exercise alters the molecular clock in tissues like the muscles and lungs, meaning your body’s rhythm will respond. Oooh, fancy.
I’ve only done it once, but flying with a hangover is never going to be fun! Even if it’s not a hangover worthy of the “worst of the year award”, it leaves you feeling sluggish and irritated. Match that with a change in time and it’s a recipe for disaster. And, while it’s tempting to reach for the coffee, caffeine only makes it worse. So avoid it altogether and get some of that H20.
Maybe don’t literally jump around, but definitely get up and move about the plane. Wash your face, wander the aisles and have a good ol’ stretch. I promise you’ll feel better for it, and your blood won’t clot. Bonus!
Vitamins, vitamins and move vitamins
A lot of people like to take sleeping pills to help them sleep on a flight, but it doesn’t sit well with everyone and keeping it au naturel is always best. Loading up on vitamins is often better instead. Apparently, melatonin can help regulate sleep and is naturally found in cherries, but eat in moderation so not to overdo it. Changing up your diet has also been recommended by scientists in the past. Filling up on fibre-rich and protein-rich foods a few days before, then fasting, then filling, then fasting the day before you fly, is said to help regulate your body and prepare it for what’s to come.
Catch some Zzz’s
Sleeping on a flight is an obvious one. We’re all guilty of becoming engrossed in the latest Hollywood movie, or your favourite book, but sleeping really does work wonders. It is something that should be done in moderation, though. Over-sleep and you’ll feel even worse after landing and during your trip, but understand when and for how long you should sleep (depending on where you’re travelling), and you’ll feel much better in the long run. Some lovely people have even developed apps to make it even easier to beat jet lag – try JetLag Genie or JetLag App.
A few more tips…
- Try noise-cancelling headphones – invest in some good ones and you’ll never look back. Well worth it when you’re stuck near a screaming child or terrible snorer, or just trying to enjoy shirtless Channing Tatum in the latest blockbuster!
- Change your watch/phone time to local time – this will help you know when’s best to eat and sleep etc.
- Cuddle up to a travel pillow, blanket, eye mask and ear plugs to make sleeping in an upright position a hell of a lot easier.
Do you have any other tried and tested tips to beat jet lag? Share them below!
Agreed to set your watch; but then also set your eating! When you land have your first meal be on the local schedule and treat it that way. Also, get daylight exposure and take in mid-day blue sky. Your cortisol is linked to blue light (literal blue light! That’s why you have the blue light filter on your phone) because we evolved to sync up with the blue sky. Get in the sun mid day and take in that beautiful blue. That’ll help your cortisol re-set to the new time zone.