Many people grapple with jet lag, especially when crossing continents, as circadian rhythms take time to adjust. And for some people – often parents who put their children to bed at a set time every night – jet lag can be a major fear and trauma.
Here’s a few ways you can help beat jet lag.
1: Buy the right flights. For LONG multiple timezone flights, the best flights are usually those that get you to your destination in the morning. Your aim is to sleep in the night that will be night-time where you’re going, and wake up in the morning. Stopovers can really help break the monotony of flights.
2: Last out the day. Unless you’re the type of high-powered meeting bunny that can step off a red-eye and be instantly authoritarian, the first day after a long flight – or multiple flights – is going to be pretty darn rubbish. The key is not to nap: stay awake all day and go to bed at a reasonable time of night given the amount of sleep you’ve missed (or gained).
3: If you haven’t got the right flight, try melatonin: this is a hormone formed by your body at night or in the darkness, while you sleep. Studies have shown that melatonin, taken at the target bed time, helps reduce the effects of jet lag by readjusting the pineal gland – and helping you sleep when you need to sleep.
4: Stay hydrated. Air travel can be really drying – and, particularly with regulations about water on flights, it’s easy not to drink enough. Dehydration makes the grungy feel of jetlag much, much, much worse.
5: Relax bedtimes when travelling with kids. If you put your children to bed at the same time each night, start stretching it later (or earlier) depending on which direction you’re flying: if you fly rarely, or are nervous, spend a fortnight or so extending bedtimes.