How to deal with jet lag

The summer holidays are now over and people have started to think about Christmas; the time of year spent with family and friends and lots of indulgent foods. For some people however, Christmas means travelling across the world to visit loved ones, which can result in serious jet lag that spoils the festive period.

The term jet lag is actually an incorrect one. When you visit a country that is in a different time zone your circadian rhythm – your body’s natural 24 hour clock – is thrown off balance as the time in your new destination is different – this is referred to as jet lag. We can’t prevent this from happening, but there are several things you can do before, during and after your flight to help you adjust as quickly as possible.

Before you fly ensure that you have had enough sleep as being tired can make any experience worse, and flying is no exception. Airports can be very stressful places, especially for those who are nervous flyers, so try to remain calm and relaxed whilst there. One thing that would help with this is to select online check in. Not only does it save you money it means you can avoid crowds and queues. Prior to boarding the plane ensure you are properly hydrated. With around 2 hours to kill and the myriad of cafes and food outlets available in any airport there is always somewhere to have a drink.

During the flight it is important to keep hydrated. With air conditioning within the cabin and processed food it is easy to become dehydrated, which can enhance the effects of jet lag. Try to avoid excessive alcohol or caffeine intake as this increases dehydration. Walking around the cabin and stretching is essential on long haul flights to avoid DVT, but it also helps you stay alert and fresh; team this with short naps during your flight and jet lag isn’t likely to affect you for more than a few hours.

Once you reach your destination the easiest thing to do for many is to take a nap. Unless it is night time this is something you need to avoid. To effectively beat jet lag you need to establish a new routine on the local time. To do this go outside; natural light makes it difficult for you to sleep and means that you adjust to local time quickly.

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