Health and Lifestyle for the over 50s

7 Tips For Beating Jet Lag

Posted by The Best of Health
Categories: Travel Health / Health and Wellbeing /

jet-lag-152094905Travelling to a different time zone disrupts your sleep cycle, and it can be difficult for your body to adjust to the abrupt changes. Jet lag can leave you tired, sluggish and disorientated, which is the opposite of how you want to feel while on holiday. The good news is, there are steps you can take to minimise the symptoms of jet lag and synchronise to your destination more smoothly.

Start Preparing Early To Avoid Jet Lag

If you set off on your journey already tired, it will only make your jet lag symptoms worse. Try to get into a good sleep routine so that you get plenty of rest at least a week before travelling.

If you can, alter your sleeping times a little to more closely match the routine you want to get into when you reach your destination. If you’re travelling east, go to bed a little earlier and if you’re travelling west, try to stay up a little later. This will prepare your body to assimilate to your destination’s local time.

Keep Moving

This applies to both before the flight and during it. While waiting at the airport, it’s best to stay on your feet for a while and move around so that you won’t feel sluggish once you board.

While on the plane, getting out of your seat every now and then will make you feel less lethargic, allowing you to resist the urge to sleep while travelling during the day.

jet lag flyingStay Hydrated

During your flight, drink plenty of water to keep energy levels up. You should avoid alcohol and caffeine, which will cause sharp spikes and drops in your energy levels, and ultimately leave you feeling fatigued.

Eat Healthy Meals

It’s easy to reach for junk food when travelling, but a healthier meal will release energy more slowly, keeping you more awake and alert during the first day of your holiday. If you’re travelling early in the morning, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables throughout the day will allow you to keep going until it’s bedtime at your destination.

Get the Rest You Need

If you’re travelling during your destination’s night hours, sleeping on the plane can be the best way to adjust to the local time. Factors such as noise and uncomfortable seats can make sleeping difficult, so take whatever you need to help you get some rest. Eye masks, ear plugs and travel cushions can be helpful, and some find the soothing scent of lavender oils or eucalyptus helps them to doze off.

Resist Midday Naps

If you arrive at your destination during local daytime, the tiring journey can leave you tempted to take a nap to help you get through the rest of the day. This is best avoided because staying awake until night-time will allow you to synchronise to your new location. Stay hydrated and lightly active for the remaining daylight hours to keep you going.

Avoid Sleeping Tablets

Taking medication to help you sleep will only disrupt the process of your body naturally adjusting to the new time zone. If you can’t get to sleep when you should be sleeping, try to simply lie down, get comfortable and think about resting until you drift off.

The key is to do everything you can to adjust to the new time zone on the day of travel. If you start the trip right, the change will have minimal impact on the following days, preventing jet lag from taking over a significant portion of your holiday.

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