All travellers who cross multiple time zones experience jet lag to some degree.
Jet lag is when your body’s circadian rhythms (which govern sleeping, waking, eating and mood) are disrupted.
This happens because air travel across multiple time zones confuses the body, which is a creature of habit. We may have trouble adjusting to our new time zone, lay in bed wide awake or feel lethargic and out of sync.
Jet lag is an annoyance to all travellers, especially those who want to feel fresh and amped for that business meeting, or who are on a tour or leisure holiday, yet feel sleepy at the wrong times and don’t feel like they are getting the most out of their journey.
Here are 4 ways to cut jet lag duration and recover faster:
1. Before departure, set your watch to the time zone of your destination.
The earlier you do this, the sooner your can start moving your body clock into sync with your new location. Be careful you don’t get the time wrong and miss your flight!
Be mindful of meals times at your destination. Usually planes serve food based on local time, so while you still need to eat, pay attention to the time at your destination. Avoid eating a huge main meal in the middle of the night.
Instead eat lightly if you aren’t too ravenous. Disturbances in appetite can be a sign of jet lag.
Pay attention to when you sleep on an aircraft to minimise jet lag. Sometimes sleep depriving a little and trying to sleep in accordance with the local time at your destination will do you favours when you arrive.
This is especially true for travellers who have very little time to adjust to a new country and need to get straight into that business meeting or adventure.
2. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water and dose regularly with Flightamins
Remember that dehydration can worsen symptoms of jet lag. The aircraft environment is dry, with the humidity level resembling that of a desert. Take Flightamins every 6 hours to ensure you remain nourished, hydrated and primed.
3. Get natural light at your destination.
This reminds your body of your new day cycle and helps to get it into a new pattern sooner. Go for a walk when you arrive in the day to help your body adjust to you new time zone.
Sleep cycles are moderated by the hormone melatonin. This is released at night and is involved in multiple processes in the body. When you travel altered sleep patterns can be worsened by a shortage of melatonin, which results in you lying awake at 3am because your body clock doesn’t know it’s time to sleep.
4. Eat foods which contain tryptophan.
Some foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps your body to make the chemicals melatonin and serotonin. These chemicals help to regulate sleeping, waking, appetite and mood, which are all affected by this mysterious syndrome known as jet lag.
Eat more of the foods listed below:
Small amounts of cheese
Shrimp and lobster
These will help to increase your natural levels of serotonin and melatonin, your sleep boosting hormones. Which will make the transition across time zones easier.
*Even pretzels and white rice can be useful to bring on sleep (but eat in moderation!)
This is because they have a high glycemic index and cause a spike and sudden drop in your blood sugar levels. The increase in insulin and blood sugar actually allows tryptophan to enter your brain more easily.