One of the biggest inconvenience travelers face is jet lag, the phenomenon which refers to disturbed sleep patterns, weakness and disorientation. We all know what kind of hassle jet lag can be, whether you’re traveling on business and you need to look fresh and presentable or simply on holiday where you have to make every moment count.
Jatlag is caused by timezone differences which affect your internal body clock. Your body is used to your natural day (active)/night(sleep) cycle, and knows by itself whether its night or day without it having to be exposed to sun light in the first place. When you’re around the globe however…meet jetlag – and it can take up to several days for your body to recover!
Here are some tips and steps you might want to take before and during your flight, which will help you to minimize almost to the point of no existence the jet lag effect.
- Rest well before the flight. This works very if you’ve booked a morning flight, but if you have an evening flight, try to keep your daily activities to a reasonable energetic consumption level. It’s a good idea to exercise, since it will reinvigorate your body, but by no means should you excessively exercise.
- Change bedtime hours. Whether you travel to the east or to the west makes a lot of difference. For example, if you travel from London to New York, you’ll experience a shorter day than that with which your body-clock is currently used to, and the other way around to the east, where it will seem longer. A good tip would be to try to sleep earlier if you travel to the east and later if you’re destination is west.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Because of the high pressure in the plane during flight, you’ll find that your body becomes severely dehydrated, which you can easily combat by asking the stewardess for decently sized water bottle, 2L should do the trick.
See also: 12 Steps to avoid jet lag
- Don’t drink alcohol! Related to the above tip, don’t take advantage of your airlines complementary alcoholic beverages, since it will do you a lot more harm than good, no matter what you might think. Alcohol severely dehydrates, and deprives sleep and rest.
- Set your watch according to the local destination. When your flight boards your destination, don’t forget to set your watch according to the local time and stick to it, not to the one your internal clock tells you.
- Don’t sleep during the flight unless your flight arrives in the morning. Although it might seem very hard in a 13 hour flight from Paris to Hongkong, but try to keep yourself awake and entertained – work, read, study, watch airline movies, whatever you can to keep yourself distracted. It will be worth it in the long run, when you’ll arrive and have a nice sleep during the destination’s night time.
- Anchor sleep. A minimum amount of 4 hours during destination night time is highly recommended – the interval is called “Anchor sleep”. Try to sleep the same amount of hours you normally would back home, you can solve your 8 hour sleep/day cycle by taking naps which will help you balance the jet lag.
- Sun light exposure. When you arrive at your destination, it would be a good practice to stay in the sunlight for as long possible, since the sun’s exposure is a natural balance for your internal body clock.