Anyone who travels knows that jet lag is not just a state of mind. Becoming an irritable, sleep deprived, walking zombie can be the worst part of traveling and takes away precious time from the vacation that you planned and paid for. However, there are proven solutions to help elevate, if not avoid the symptoms of jet lag all together.
Before you fly
1 Be specific with flight times
Pick your flights wisely. Try to book your flights so you land in the early evening this way you can have a good dinner and a full night’s rest.
2 Prepare for your flight several days ahead
Four to five days before you fly, start preparing for the time difference by shifting your eating and sleeping habits to match those of your destination. Once you arrive it will be easier for you to adopt the local time into your routine.
3 Cut out caffeine
This can be a challenge for a lot of us but drastically cutting caffeine intake 12 hours before and during a flight can help ensure an uninterrupted full night’s sleep once you arrive. Drinking caffeine can cause fitful sleeping or prevent you from sleeping altogether.
During your flight
4 Water, Water, Water
Although running to the bathroom will become a pain, we can’t stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated. For every hour of flight, it’s recommended to drink 8 ounces of water. Commercial airlines have less humidity than the Sahara desert…seriously look it up! This can lead to dehydration, which can cause illness. Pack a small onboard hydration bag, especially for long flights. It should contain lip moisturizer, saline eye drops, a small bottle of lotion, gum or throat lozenges, and saline nasal spray. If you wear contacts make sure you bring extra saline solution and clean them at least once during a long flight.
5 Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol can help elevate anxiety during a flight but its effects are far worse than its benefits. Alcohol causes dehydration. One alcoholic drink during a flight coupled with altitude is equivalent to two and causes drowsiness twice as fast. Although you may think that it will help you sleep, studies show that sleep induced by alcohol is often fragmented and you wake up feeling irritable and unrested.
6 Avoid airline food if possible
Airline food is not designed to be healthy or help you avoid jet lag. While on board, eat plenty of fruit. Most airlines will allow you to preorder a meal, go with fruits and vegetables and of course lots of water. Before you leave have a high protein breakfast and lunch and then when you arrive have a high carbohydrate dinner. For over night flights, try to stick to this routine with preordered meals. Try not to eat after 7 pm to avoid further sleep problems.
7 Sleeping during the flight
Travelling can be stressful and tiring. As much as possible, try to sleep during your flight, especially during long hauls. The more rest you can get while flying the better your body will be able to deal with jet lag once you arrive at your destination. If it’s possible to fly business class it’s definitely worth the expense. (Trust us, flying from Singapore to the US and back is painful in coach!) Being able to recline your seat and sleep goes a long way in helping with jet lag. If you must fly coach, opt for the window or bulkhead seats. You’ll be able to prop a pillow up against the window to lie on and stretch your legs out a bit more. Any extra comfort will help you rest better.
8 Consider sleeping pills
A short cycle sleeping pill can be extremely helpful when taking an overnight flight. But be careful here, if you don’t time it correctly you’ll wake up groggy and heavy headed. Never try out a new sleeping pill on a flight. Know how you react to the sleeping pills before hand to avoid any bad reactions onboard.
Once you arrive at your destination
9 Keep active
Once you arrival get out in the sunlight. This will help your body reset its natural time clock to match your new environment.
10 Don’t go to sleep too early
No matter what you do STAY AWAKE at least until 11 or 12 pm. don’t think that a 20-minute nap in the middle of the day will help you get over the hump. Twenty minutes will turn into a four-hour nap and will throw you off completely, extending your jet lag. Walk around, keep the blinds open in your hotel room, go outside and get some fresh air, go to a noisy bar; anything that will keep you awake.
Once it is time to sleep, do whatever you need to ensure that you will get uninterrupted sleep, especially the first two days. In hotels put out the do not disturb sign and instruct the front desk that you are not to be disturbed until morning. Close the blinds to restrict light from coming in and annoying you. Take a sleeping pill to help keep you asleep all night.
Make sure you wake up bright and early, have a high protein breakfast and stay awake all day to become acclimated to the new time zone.
These tips will certainly help you to reduce the effects of Jet Lag, but you might want to also read a few specific airline reviews from a reliable source such as Likedreviews. That will enable you to select the most comfortable airline for your journey.