Every traveller’s nemesis is the hated sleep disorder, JET LAG.
Jet lag can be a vicious side effect of long-distance travel, and it does not discriminate. Jet lag can affect anyone regardless of nationality, gender and where you sit on the plane – economy or first class. But there are things that we can do to ward off jet lag and reduce it effects, before, during and after the flight.
This article is linked to one of our favourite posts ‘How to Survive a Long-Haul Flight,’ as jet lag is a by-product of travelling through time zones, which we usually do by flying. The more time zones you travel through the stronger the effects of jet lag are. Also, jet lag is often worse when you return home.
If you haven’t yet read ‘How to Survive a Long-Haul Flight,’ be sure to check it out, AFTER reading this, as we don’t want you to get distracted and miss out on these helpful travel tips. We’ll leave a link for you at the bottom of the page.
Jet Lag Symptoms
Knowing the symptoms of jet lag is important, so that you know what to expect and so as not to worry when you experience them. They can often last for 2/3 days after your arrival. If they persist you should seek medical advice. Here are the common effects of jet lag:
- difficulty getting to sleep and waking up in the new time zone
- staying awake during the day can be a struggle
- poor sleep quality
- hard to concentrate and memory problems
How to Prevent Jet Lag Before You Depart
There are a few things you can do prior to boarding the flight that will take you to your exciting and exotic location.
Jet Lag Avoidance Tip #1
Planning your Vacation. Sticking to your own time zone is the best way to prevent jet lag. Planning an adventure and vacation north and south of your current location, is the absolute best way to not experience jet lag, as the time won’t change. When you have completed exploring your time zone, visit the neighbouring time zones for minimal side effects.
For example, PreParture is based in Chicago, so we can visit Mexico City, Galapagos Islands, Winnipeg, Houston and Guatemala City without being affected by jet lag.
What exciting new destinations can you visit in your time zone?
Jet Lag Avoidance Tip #2
Sleeping Patterns. The second avoidance tip is a tricky one as it depends on your schedule, prior to departure, but it is the most effective. Try to adjust your day to day activities, as best you can, to match the time zone you’ll be visiting.
For example, waking up and going to bed a few hours earlier, if you are travelling east, can help you adjust to the new time zone you’ll shortly be visiting. Changing you sleep patterns and eating times, by just a few hours can really help minimise the affects of jet lag.
How many time zones have you travelled through in one flight?
Jet Lag Avoidance Tip #3
Packing. Stress can exacerbate the effects of jet lag. Think about what stresses you out about travel and find solutions to limit your stress points and triggers.
Many people, are anxious about packing for a new and unknown destination. Reduce this anxiety by researching what to pack for the location and season on Pinterest, make a packing list and then pack in advance.
How to Reduce Jet Lag Symptoms During Your Flight
Continue your battle against jet lag on board the plane…
Jet Lag Avoidance Tip #4
Drink Water. H2O is your best friend during the flight, as staying hydrated is an essential part of fighting jet lag. Alcohol and caffeine can make it worse, so we suggest avoiding them. We recommend investing in a reusable bottle and filling it up at the airport water fountain after passing through security.
Jet Lag Avoidance Tip #5
Get some shut eye. Take a nap on the flight so that you arrive well rested, able to stay awake for the day. Booking a night flight may help in the time zone adjustment. If you have difficulty sleeping on planes pack an eye mask, earplugs and a neck pillow in your hand luggage. Also, try downloading and listening to music that encourages sleep.
We love this Dream to Sleep kit by This Works ($46.50). It includes a super chic eye mask, night oil to moisturise your skin and pillow spray, perfect for drifting to dreamland.
Jet Lag Avoidance Tip #6
Time. Change your watch to the local time when you take off. Train your brain to think it’s a different time, this can aid the battle in changing your body clock.
Whilst at on Vacation
Jet Lag Avoidance Tip #7
Stay Awake. The final stage of adapting your seep schedule is to stay awake during the daylight hours. Bask in the sun, as this is how your internal body clock adjusts.
Do whatever you can to avoid sleeping during daylight hours. We suggest staying active! Book an interesting tour or activity, like a walking tour or kayaking. Don’t relax at the beach or rest in your hotel room.
Jet Lag Avoidance Tip #8
Water. Continue drinking water. Its ok to mix in a few cocktails and beers here and there, but remain hydrated until the jet lag symptoms subside.
Jet Lag Avoidance Tip #9
Set an alarm. Avoid oversleeping by setting an alarm on your phone or asking for a morning wakeup call from the hotel reception. Either set a few alarms, 5 minutes apart or place your phone on the other side of the room, so that you have to get up out of bed.
Jet lag at Home
Jet Lag Avoidance Tip #10
Unfortunately, the effects of jet lag can raise their ugly head when you return home. To battle against this, follow the above advice whilst easing back into your routine. Staying awake, active and hydrated remains key.
If you can follow all these tips, jet lag should be scared to challenge you as you are sure to beat it, in a timely manner.
Related: How to Survive a Long-Haul Flight