Tired person and dog in bed jet lag

Travel Tip # 29: How do you prevent jet lag?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Jet lag is essentially the disturbance of your sleep rhythm that occurs when travelling to different time zone within a short period of time.  Symptoms can be quite varied depending on the time difference. Most common is trouble falling asleep (when travelling east) or trouble remaining awake (when travelling west). Here are some tips on how to avoid jet lags.

Travelling East vs. travelling West

Travelling East causes a more intense jet lag than when travelling west. Your day is shorter which confuses your biological clock.  Your body can easily adapt to an hour time difference. However, when you cross several time zones, the effects of a jet lag are multiplied. Travelling West causes less problems. Usually, A good night's sleep helps recover from jet lag more quickly.

Eat light

There are certain things you can do in order to minimize the effects of a jet lag as much as possible. An important tip: Eat light, especially during the trip. Your metabolism is much slower than usual during long flights as your body has to adjust to changes. It is therefore wiser to stick to lighter meals. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water as your body dehydrates quicker than usual on long journeys. Try to avoid coffee and alcohol for the same reasons.

Keep it moving

Stimulate your blood circulation with a few simple exercises that can be easily practiced from your seat. Inflight excercises will help prevent fatigue and thrombosis. More here.

Do not sleep during the day

As tempting as a short nap sounds, this eventually leads to an even more intense jet lag and should therefore be avoided during day-time flights. What you can do prior to your departure is go to bed an hour earlier or later in order to prepare for the change in rhythm. If traveling east, go to bed, 1 or 2 hours earlier if you’re heading west, go to bed an hour later.