Mother Nature throws some mighty curve balls – and jet lag is one of the nastiest biorhythm hurdles. While some frequent fliers thrive on the executive experience of taking frequent international flights, others bemoan the exhaustion and confusion that comes with constantly changing time zones. Meanwhile, there’s nothing worse than wasting your precious vacation time because you’re too knackered to leave the hotel room.
There are a number of ways to combat and to try and overcome jet lag, including pressure point techniques and medication, but most travellers agree that natural methods are the most effective way to adjust to your new time zone quickly. The key is to plan ahead for your arrival and to make compromises with – rather than try and dictate – your body’s natural rhythms.
• Plan your flight time – the battle against fatigue starts the moment you step on board the aircraft. First and foremost, flyers should try and use the time in flight to adjust to their destination time. This means that if you’ve booked a cheap flight to Thailand that touches down in the morning, you should get as much sleep as you can on the plane. However, if you’ll be arriving in the evening or at night, you’ll want to stay awake for most of the flight so you’ll be ready to hit the hay.
• Limit alcohol and stay active – it’s important to stay hydrated during your flight as cabin pressurised air tends to be quite dry. Also limit the number of drinks you have on board as the alcohol increases dehydration. Dehydration can increase the likelihood of bad jet lag as your body will be less equipped to handle the experience. Meanwhile, little in seat exercises, especially if you’re in the cramped economy sections of cheap flights, will keep your circulation flowing which will help you feel more energetic when you arrive.
• Adjust as soon as you arrive – once you arrive at your destination, do what you can to adjust to a normal schedule. If it’s day, stay outdoors and in the sun as our bodies respond well to daylight. Meanwhile, some hotels are offering ingenious jet lag services such as bright light therapy to help you battle fatigue. Resist the urge to take a nap even a short quick one if you can.
Did you know?
According to the Journal of Sport Behavior, eastward travel is more difficult to handle because it compresses days into shorter time periods, which takes your body further away from its natural rhythms. Westward travel, on the other hand, expand your day – so the experience is more like staying up late for one night rather than trying to go to sleep at 5 in the afternoon!