Itchy eyeballs, limp hair and relentless grogginess, jet lag is an overwhelming state that can make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.
In scientific jargon, jet lag is the disruption of your circadian rhythms caused by a new dark-light schedule. What this means to the Average Joe or Joan, is that your natural body clock has become unsynchronized to your current time zone. Here are five tips to get your mind, body, and soul bouncing to the same beat.
1. Only sleep when the time is right
You’re in your seat, buckled up, with plenty of hours ahead to catch up on your beauty sleep. While this might seem like a great plan to have you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed upon arrival, it might in fact have the completely opposite effect.
Travelling across time zones is exactly what misaligns your interior body clock to the destination’s clock, so to overcome time-zone tiredness, tune into the new tempo as soon as you step on the plane. If it makes sense to catch up on some shut-eye before a morning landing in Bali, sleep! You’ll want to hit the beach with as much energy as possible. If you’ll be landing in time for a spectacular Sydney sunset, hold off until the Aussies head down under the covers.
2. Rethink your plan of movie binging
While it might be tempting to catch up on all the movies you’ve missed with a film binge-fest, it’s only worth it if you need to stay awake. It’s a mistake to think that along the marathon, you’ll be lulled asleep — after all, when was the last time an action-packed chase scene made for a good lullaby?
The screens on airplanes, on mobile phones, and laptops emit a bright blue light that interferes with your internal body clock, so that the more light your body is subjected to, the more your mind feels obligated to be alert. Similar to adapting your sleep pattern, to beat jet lag, you need to get your mind to mimic the light-dark levels of your destination to adapt more quickly on landing.
3. Loose the booze
If you’re thinking a couple of cocktails will have you sleeping off any turbulence from turns and toddlers, think again. You could go the other way and chug down cups of coffee en masse to keep those eyes open… but you’d be wrong again. In fact, water is your only friend.
Dehydration can lead to more severe jet lag causing the hangover from hell for days on end. Instead, for the duration of the flight, stick to H20 and leave the alcohol and java until you’re safely grounded.
4. Choose your seat wisely
While it may be fashionable to make a run for the back seat of the school bus, you’ll be in for one bumpy ride if you fly back there.
While sleep therapists recommend first- or business-class for the fully reclining chairs, for the majority of us flying economy, there are a few hidden gems of wisdom we must learn about. First, there’s always the “extra leg-room” seats, technically known as the dreaded exit row seats. If you’re willing to study your safety card, in return, you’ll get additional space to stretch out your legs, making your flight a little more comfortable, hopefully allowing you to sleep a little more deeply.
Then there are the aisle seats. If catching some “zzz’s” is your goal, avoid these at all costs. Falling in and out of sleep by repeated disturbances from the flight crew and bathroom-needy passengers will only add to the haziness, amplifying your jet lag.
Finally, sit as close to the front as possible to avoid being constantly jolted by every bump encountered on the journey, as movement is felt with more force closer to the back of the plane.
5. Take care when popping pills
Crying babies, shaky flights and bright lights make for an uneasy slumber, so sleeping pills might seem like a tempting aid. However, they’re only really worth it for a flight exceeding eight hours.
Sleep medication induces drowsiness, bringing on deep sleep. Waking up before completing forty winks will leave you more lethargic.
G Adventures runs a number of departures encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater to different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours — check out our small group trips here.