Everybody loves to jump on a plane and get away! Whether you are travelling for work or for pleasure there is a sense of fun and anticipation. Unfortunately, coupled with the excitement, many adventurers also experience the dreaded jetlag.
Crossing multiple time zones rapidly wreaks havoc with our body clock. Our circadian rhythm, our internal clock regulated by signals like light, mealtimes and regular daily activities is thrown into turmoil, leaving us feeling tired and out of sorts. Symptoms of jet lag are varied and may include disturbed sleep, lethargy, stomach complaints and feelings of anxiety, irritability and confusion or of overall general illness. Lasting until your body adjusts to the new time zone, these symptoms may persist as long 6 - 8 days.
Whilst jet lag is not preventable, you can take steps to minimise the effects.
Before you travel ensure you are well rested and consider moving your bed time to more closely match your destination. Booking your flight to arrive in daylight will help with the adjustment to the new time zone.
During your flight stay well hydrated and enjoy light meals. Rest when you are able with short naps. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks, both can disrupt sleep and worsen your symptoms. On a long flight, keep active by moving around the cabin and stretching regularly in your seat. Changing your watch to match your destination time zone can also speed your body’s adjustment period.
When you touchdown quickly establish your routine for the local time. Eat and sleep at the correct time for your destination and try to stay awake until its bed time in the new time zone. Head outside and explore your surroundings. Being outdoors will quickly help to reset your body clock, the exercise will improve your sleep.
The sooner your body acclimatises the less severe your symptoms will be - your jet lag will disappear leaving you refreshed and ready to enjoy your time away.