Beat Jet Lag: Nova Car Hire’s Top 9 Tips
If you’re a frequent long-distance traveller, you may have resigned yourself to writing off the first day or two of your trip because you know you’ll be overwhelmed by the symptoms of jet lag. Flying between different time zones disrupts your body’s natural sleeping pattern, leading to drowsiness during the day, sleeplessness at night, difficulty concentrating, hunger or lack of appetite at unusual times, crankiness, and – in severe cases – memory loss and extreme confusion. Not exactly the recipe for a great holiday, but there are some things you can do to prevent or alleviate the worst symptoms:
Adjust Your Body Clock
Essentially, you’re trying to trick your body gradually into thinking you’re in a different time zone, so it won’t get such a shock when you land. For example, if your destination is four hours ahead, start going to bed and getting up a few hours later for about a week before you travel. Work and life commitments probably mean you won’t get to synchronise your times exactly, but any adjustment should help.
Give Yourself Time
If you have an important event to attend in your new time zone, make sure you arrive in plenty of time to acclimatise yourself. An extra day will allow you to catch up on rest before that vital appointment or meeting.
Before you fly, do something energetic, so you’ll find it easier to sleep when you arrive at your destination. Physical activity enhances your body’s ability to adjust to new schedules. It may help you sleep on the flight too.
If you fly at night, you can have your evening meal at the normal time and boost your chances of sleeping on the flight. If it’s a long flight and you’re crossing several time zones, you should arrive at your destination either in the morning or early afternoon. This makes it easier to adjust to your new routine.
Watch What You Eat & Drink
Treating yourself to rich or heavy foods will only aggravate your jet lag. It is best to avoid alcohol too, as it can disrupt sleep and make you dehydrated. During your flight and for about 12 hours before, avoid caffeine, as this will make you wake up more frequently when you do actually go to sleep.
You’re at increased risk of dehydration when you fly across time zones, so drink a minimum of 1/4 litre of water for every hour you fly, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Contact lens wearers should clean their lenses before flying and use eye drops during the flight. Keep moisturiser, lip balm, and a spritz with essential oils in your carry-on luggage.
Have a Comfy Flight
Boost your chances of sleeping on the plane by making the experience as comfortable as possible. Save up for a business- or first-class flight if you can, as the additional space will make it much easier to sleep. If that’s not an option, try to get a window seat, and bring a travel pillow and eye mask.
Soak up the Sun
If you arrive in daylight, try to get outdoors as soon as you can. The urge may be to hit the hotel for a nap, but if you take a shower and go for a walk, you’ll feel much better and help your body to adjust to the new time zone more easily.
Don’t Sleep During the Day
Your eyelids may be weighing you down by the time you arrive, but unless you arrive close to your usual bedtime, resist the urge to crawl into bed as soon as you get to the hotel. Keep yourself occupied (see no. 8) and stay up until it’s time for bed in your new time zone.