Advice guide: prevention of jet lag

01/06/17 General

Jet lag is never pleasant and can affect a trip as you try to recover and get back on track. It is the result of your body struggling to adjust to new time zones and its effect on your sleep.

The world has 24 time zones and each time we cross one of these zones our body’s natural body clock is disrupted. The more time zones you cross the worse the jet lag can be. Jet lag is generally worse when flying east as our bodies are better at coping with an increase in time (flying west) rather than a reduction.

Disruption of your natural body clock and disruption of your sleep pattern can make you tired, lethargic and sometimes confused. It can cause nausea, loss of appetite, disorientation, anxiety, memory problems, headaches and sweating.

There is no quick fix for jet lag but the symptoms will normally resolve within two days once your body clock has adjusted to the new time zone.

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN A CURE SO BEFORE YOU TRAVEL:

  • Get enough sleep – flying tired makes jet lag worse
  • Keep your stress levels low – stress and anxiety can aggravate jet lag
  • Change your sleep routine before you fly – try and adapt your sleep routine to your destination

IN FLIGHT:

  • Hydration – drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages
  • Caffeine – avoid caffeine well before you plan to sleep
  • Avoid alcohol – alcohol will de-hydrate you and affect your sleep
  • Rest – you should try and adapt to the new time zone as soon as possible. During the flight take short naps if you are tired as tiredness can exacerbate jet lag symptoms
  • Change your watch time – change the time on your watch to the time of your destination as soon as possible. This will help you adapt to the new time zone better both physically and psychologically.

Source: Jet Lag – the curse of the time traveller, QBE