September 13 2016
CONQUER JET LAG!
Jet lag! What a pain! You get a few week’s holiday, plan a great trip and spend the first few days suffering from jet lag.
I worked for an airline for 5 years during which time I did a lot of travel for both business and pleasure, this gave me plenty of practice to learn the best tricks to help defeat jet lag.
Through research, and trial and error I figured out what really works! So much so that I was able to go to work in London on a Wednesday, fly to Australia that evening, arrive Friday morning, attend a wedding Saturday, fly back Sunday, go to work Monday and adjust to both time zones AND I had bronchitis the whole time (mental I know). Here are the tricks I learnt (drugs not included):
1. Adjust to the time at your destination early
Before you even get on the plane, change your phone and wrist watch to the time at your destination. Now that you have done that, get an idea of when you should sleep and when you shouldn’t. Also, never check the time of the place you departed, knowing that ‘you should be asleep’ is very bad!
2. Try to plan in a stop over
This is something I’ve done a lot but you can only do on the really long journey’s. I used to fly from London to Australia twice a year for 5 years because I have family there. To break it up and see more countries during my trip, I’d always do 1 or 2 night stopovers on the way; I’ve visited Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and a few others. After all, visiting a new city is exciting and as a result of this technique, I was always able to conquer jet lag early on.
3. Day 1 is the hardest, so keep busy!
Day 1 is tough, especially if you land at 5 am and have a whole day to get through. Make sure to have plenty planned for your first day to help you get through to the end and sleep through the night. In general, if you don’t break the cycle on day 1 than the chances are you will take 3 or more days to properly adjust. So make sure to fight through day 1!
To help you get through Day 1, spend as much time as you can outside soaking up the sun. For two reasons, firstly it’s a bit more difficult to fall asleep while hiking, secondly being in the sun produces serotonin which keeps you awake.
4. Avoid Naps
Having micro naps throughout the day is a terrible idea, don’t do it. You’ll have a nap for an hour, wake up and still be tired and think ‘I’ll just sleep another hour’ and its game over buddy! If you arrive at 5 am then have a proper sleep for a few hours and then power through the day. NO NAPS!
5. Know your techniques to get a good night sleep
Not just lavender oil on your pillow, but anything that helps you wind down and really get you ready for a good night sleep, maybe a bath is what you want? Or read a book? The point is, do everything you can to help you get through the entire night and not wake up at 3 am. This is also why naps are a big NO NO and keeping busy during the day is vital!
6. Keep hydrated
It’s easy to forget to drink throughout the day but make sure you do! It helps your body fight fatigue and get you through the day.
I left this one till the end because if you read it first you would probably have stopped. I’m not trying to convert you to Chinese medicine and I’m not an expert on how it works. Placebo or not, I’ve had a few acupuncture sessions straight off the plane and I don’t know why but it helped me get through day 1, sleep really well, and be on the clock by day 2. Now, I know it’s a tall order to suggest you get off a flight and find the nearest acupuncturist to book in a session, but if you really struggle with jet lag, consider it.
And there you have it! I will mention that there’s a bunch of other things that impact jet lag for instance flying business class, getting a good seat, having a good in-flight experience, arriving in the afternoon (that’s ace) etc. However, these are often out of your control so there’s little point in going into the detail.
We hope this guide will help you conquer jet lag on your next big trip, let us know if you have any other suggestions using the below comments field.
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