Jet lag sucks. There, I said it. That horrible feeling after travelling to some amazing country and instead of sightseeing or exploring you are asleep, or wishing you were, instead.
There is so much information online about how to cure jet lag. Travel formulas such as “travelling west is best, travelling east is a beast”, but when you’re scoping out the best deals who wants another thing to factor in?
I’ve found somethings that are simpler to remember and will help you regardless of how long your flight is. So I’m going to let you in on my travel secrets.
Here are four steps to combat jet lag:
1. From the moment you get on the plane you’re in your destination
This is my top piece of advice and this alone helps me significantly! From the moment you board the plane, set your phone and watch to the destination’s time. For long-haul flights where the time difference is significant this can be difficult but pace yourself.
If it’s nighttime at the destination try to get some sleep before doing anything else or, if you can’t sleep, watch a movie, eat something and then try to nap. A few hours is better than nothing!
If you have an overnight flight this can be more difficult as you’ll be wanting to sleep but try to push yourself to stay awake. Think of it this way – by the time the seatbelt sign turns off after take-off that’s half an hour, watching a movie passes two-hours, and if you eat the food onboard well that can take between 30-90 minutes. That’s over three or four-hours of your flight!
I’ve been told by a Doctor that taking short naps, either on the plane or when you arrive, is a great way to help you reschedule your circadian rhythm. Still feeling sleepy when you land? Go for a walk. A dose of sunlight, which slows melatonin production during the day, should help keep you awake and adjust to the new timezone!
2. Consider Melatonin Tablets
Recently, when I visited a Doctor he suggested that I begin taking melatonin tablets to help me with my jet lag and general sleeplessness.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that helps control our body clock. When taking it in tablet form, it can help reset your internal body clock when it is out of synchrony.
Please do go see a Doctor to see if melatonin would work well for you. You can buy melatonin for vitamin stores and supermarkets, however the Doctor I saw said that they are ineffective and often don’t really contain melatonin.
Also, please don’t take sleeping tablets on flights. One of the side effects of taking sleeping tablets is that they immobilise you, often in one singular position. This can lead to DVT’s and other blood clots when flying, which been the cause for flyers deaths in the past.
3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Dehydration worsens the physical symptoms of jet lag – that means caffeine or alcohol aren’t your friend! I’ve had friends joke about me ignoring the “free booze” but in all honesty drinking something that dehydrates you on a plane that is already sucking the moisture out of your skin (unless you’re flying a Boeing 787 Dreamliner – lucky you!) just seems counterproductive to me.
Also, be wary of airplane food and, when possible, bring your own snacks. Your taste buds change at altitude and to compensate some catering companies load up the levels of salt in the food. Try pre-ordering a vegetarian meal on your next flight – not only are meals prepared fresh, you’ll also be served first!
To stay hydrated while flying drink plenty of water and consider a heavy moisturiser to minimise dehydration of body and skin. I use either Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Crème or This Works: In Transit Skin Defence (which also has an SPF 30, so great if travelling to a tropical destination!). For hands and body, I top up on a travel-size Nivea Smooth Sensation Body Lotion.
5. Travel with Sleep Spray
I’m not a good sleeper at the best of times but I’ve found one thing that cures my restless mind – This Works: Deep Sleep Spray.
The British brand offers products which include a blend of natural essential oils that help to fall asleep naturally. While it’s not a magic sleep spray it does help soothe and relax you which will assist with falling asleep naturally.
If you’re a frequent traveller, or lover of miniature items, Christmas is the best time to pick up their Dream Team pack, that contains a mini Deep Sleep Pillow Spray and Breathe In roller-ball, or their Pillow Talk pack that contains a full-size sleep spray and mini Breathe In rollerball. These backs are also available for free when staying at select Crowne Plaza hotels.
Let me know in the comments below