If you've ever flown long-haul, you'll know how tiring it can be. Beating jet lag is something that most of us have struggled with, but you'll be pleased to hear that there are things you can do to minimise its effect.
The main symptoms of jet lag include fatigue, insomnia, digestive problems, appetite changes and concentration and memory problems. I remember it taking me about a week to fully get over my jet lag when travelling to Australia.
And a few years ago, when VIP and I returned from a trip to New York, we had to drive to a lay-by to sleep in the car, as we were having work done on the house while we were away and it was too noisy.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure (yet!), but there are steps you can take before, during and after a flight to help minimise its effects.
I’ve rounded up 20 of the best tips to combat a disrupted internal body clock!
- Force yourself to stay awake until bedtime when you get home
- Sleep as much as possible on the flight
- Walk around on the plane when you’re awake
- Avoid alcohol in-flight
- Drink more water than usual on the plane, and following the flight
- Make sure to stay in general good physical fitness before travel
- Avoid caffeine while flying
- Do exercises (also avoids getting DVT)
- Keep your watch set to your home/normal time when on holiday
- Avoid alcohol when you get home
- Take extra vitamins/supplements before, during or after the flight
- Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables on the plane & aim for a light meal
- Avoid caffeine when you get home
- Eat ginger before, during or after the flight
- Exercise more following the flight
- If you find it difficult to sleep, meditate
- Force yourself back to work early after the flight
- Eat goji berries before, during or after the flight
- Eat cherries before, during or after the flight (a natural source of melatonin)
- Arrange parties/social occasions to force yourself to stay active after the flight
There are a number of travel products you can buy that will help with some of the above (and just help you feel refreshed when travelling).
Here are my travel go-to items that I've used and liked.
- A Good Moisturiser – flying is dehydrating! I bought Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrating Super Concentrate Mini (15ml) a few years ago and loved it. As it's a mini size I only use it on the flight.
- I will never travel without an eye mask and my trusty earplugs. Boots does a good set for less than £6. Travel eyeshade and earplugs set.
- A friend bought me Tisserand Travel Survival Kit Essential Oils for my birthday last year and I was hooked. I'm on my second pack already!
- Carmex Cheery Lip Balm – I love the smell, the taste and the packaging. It stays with me in my flight bag and prevents my lips from drying out while flying.
Before you travel it helps if you can gradually try to change your sleep routine by going to bed and getting up an hour or so earlier or later than usual, in line with the time of your destination.
During the flight, it’s important that you drink plenty of water or non-alcoholic/non-caffeinated drinks.
Also, by skipping the in-flight meal (or keeping it really light), it will cause your body clock to temporarily reset and help you adjust to the new time zone much quicker.
And when you arrive, try to make sure you get lots of daylight exposure, ideally in the morning, as natural light will help your body clock adjust quicker.
Finally, the best way to get synched with new time zones is to push through the tiredness and stay up until a normal bedtime hour when you arrive in your destination. This is a common tip, but with good reason. It's one of the most effective ways of beating jet lag.
What are your go-to products or systems for beating jet lag?
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