If you’ve ever taken a long business trip to the other side of the globe, or a vacation in a distant country, you have probably already suffered from the effects of jet lag. At Flights.com, we realize that this is something you will have to face at some point, because it is the natural result of travelling across time zones. Fortunately, you can reduce jet lag with a few simple techniques that can help you take control of your body. With these few tricks from Flights.com you can turn a nightmare journey into a blissful travel experience.
What is jet lag?
Your natural body clock is a circular rhythm that defines your regular sleep pattern. Not only does it control when you sleep and when you wake, but it can also affect many other fundamental body functions, including body temperature, digestion and blood pressure.
When you travel between countries, particularly to a location on the opposite side of the globe, your body is forced to adjust to a different time zone. When you travel over two or more time zones, your body can struggle to adapt to the new sleeping pattern, causing extreme drowsiness and lethargy. These symptoms are commonly described as jet lag and can affect any age group.
What are the symptoms of jet lag?
The symptoms of jet lag can vary, depending on how far you have travelled. The most common problem is sleep disturbance, which in turn can be prolonged by being unable to fall asleep at the correct time at night and feeling drowsy during the day. This disrupted sleep pattern can then lead to headaches, irritability and digestive problems. In extreme cases following a long haul flight, you can also have problems thinking and functioning as normal.
Strategies for reducing the impact of jet leg
If you have suffered from jet lag, you know that the symptoms can last for several days and can be devastating for a long haul trip. Fortunately, jet lag is a temporary condition that can be improved if you plan ahead and actively work against it. If you take steps to counteract the imbalance of your sleep pattern, you can help your body to adjust to the routine of the new time zone much more quickly.
Sleep before you travel
If you are already tired before you fly, it could make jet lag even worse. Get as much sleep as you can before your flight to give you more opportunity to adapt to the new time zone.
Change your sleep pattern before you fly
Good planning always helps to reduce jet lag upon arrival, so start adjusting your body to the new time zone before you fly. If you are due to travel east, start by going to bed earlier by half an hour each night leading up to the travel date. If you are travelling to the west, then you will need to do the opposite.
Establish a new sleeping pattern
It is tempting to quickly fall into the old sleep routine when you arrive due to tiredness and travel fatigue, but if you give into sleep at the wrong times, you are only prolonging the problem. Stay awake as long as possible or get to bed early if necessary and use an alarm to wake you up if you need your body to adjust.
Manage your exposure to light
Light is a fundamental influence in your everyday sleep pattern, so if you want to reduce jet lag, make sure that you manage your exposure to it. To stay awake for longer, go outside to make the most of natural sunlight or avoid bright lights when you need to encourage sleep.
Drink lots of water
Dehydration will only make your jet lag worse, by increasing your tiredness and affecting your sleep pattern. It is essential to keep hydrated throughout the journey, particularly on long haul flights and also when you arrive at your destination. Ensure that you drink lots of water to keep your body at its peak.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Although drinking water will help reduce the symptoms of jet lag, drinking large quantities of alcohol or caffeine will not. Alcohol can make you fall asleep more quickly, but it is likely to keep you awake during the second half of the night. The same principle applies to caffeine, even if you have consumed it several hours before going to sleep. If you want to get the best night’s sleep, it is best to simply avoid both.
Long haul flights with Flights.com
If you’re feeling confident about managing jet lag, why not take a look at some of our great deals on long haul flights? At Flights.com, you will find great deals on flights direct from your local airport.