Jet lag is something we must endure when we catch a long-haul flight. It isn’t pleasant, but there is no way of avoiding it, or so we think. Whilst some people hop off their flight with a spring in their step, feeling refreshed and ready to explore the sights, most fall into bed at their hotel and don’t recover for at least a week.
What many seasoned travellers discover is that jet lag tends to get worse the more long-haul flights you take. It’s also worse when travelling east. But why is jet lag travelling west easier than travelling east?
Essentially, jet lag travelling east is worse because we lose time as explained by LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor. When we fly east through several time zones, we are jumping ahead. So, if we travel from London to Brisbane in Australia, which is GMT+10, we are losing a day. That might not seem too bad, but it has a disastrous effect on your body’s circadian rhythm.
The Symptoms of Jet Lag
Jet lag is no fun at all. Just when you really want to feel your best, your body is in open revolt. You can’t sleep, at least not when you go to bed, and if you are able to fall asleep, you wake up at stupid o’clock. You may have problems concentrating during the day and feel generally unwell. You might also have stomach problems.
All in all, jet lag is guaranteed to ruin a dream holiday somewhere amazing. The good news is that there are several simple jet lag prevention strategies you can follow to minimise the worst of the symptoms.
How to Minimize Jet Lag
- Give your body time to adjust. It can take approximately 1.5 days per time zone, so if you crossed five time zones, your body will need around 7.5 days to recover. Factor this into your schedule and don’t try and do too much in the first few days of your trip.
- Try and book a daytime flight. It’s easier to cope with jet lag if you arrive at your destination in the early evening. You can then go to bed at a time when you actually do feel tired, irrespective of what time it is back home. Hopefully, you can get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
- If this isn’t possible, don’t make the mistake of falling into bed the moment you reach your hotel. If it’s still daytime, try and stay up until a reasonable time. Get outside and soak up the sun. if you are utterly exhausted, take a power nap; 20 minutes is enough to recharge your batteries for a bit.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol on the flight. Both will negatively affect your sleep schedule. Try to drink as much water as possible. It is easy to end up dehydrated on a long-haul flight.
Jet lag doesn’t last forever. Be sensible, spend as much time outside as you can, and you should recover. At least flying west on the return flight isn’t so bad!