Jetlag is like a wet blanket to your holiday. The severe fatigue, the loss of appetite, memory and concentration all contribute to that general bleugh feeling that we can all live without. Jetlag always hits hardest when you’re travelling east (remember: west is best, east is a beast), because your body is telling you it’s time for bed while you’re getting ready to go scuba diving, or it’s time to get up when you’re doing your best to fall asleep.
Our bodies simply weren’t designed to travel that far that fast, so there is no way to completely avoid jetlag, but you can drastically reduce the nasty side effects by following these top tips.
- Ditch the bon voyage party
Getting a good night’s sleep before you travel is a great way to reduce fatigue. Tempting as it may be to stay up all night (telling yourself you’ll sleep on the plane), rather get to bed and arrive at your destination well rested and ready to go
- Get on the new time zone the moment you board the plane
Set your watch to the time zone of your destination as soon as possible, and try to get into your new sleeping and eating routine. That way you’ll ease your body into a new cycle instead of trying to adjust on the fly. Start eating three meals a day in line with your new time zone, even if that means breakfast at midnight. Your body will thank you later.
- Switch off
When it’s time to sleep, turn off your cell phone, tablet, and on board entertainment system. Studies have shown that the blue spectrum light emitted by our screens delay sleep, and we want as much shut-eye as possible.
One of the most annoying symptoms of jetlag is the fatigue, and dehydration compounds the problem. You dehydrate quickly on a plane because of the dry, pressurised cabin, so next time the service trolley comes around; ask for a bottle of water.
- Avoid alcohol at altitude
Alcohol at altitude may sound like a great sleep inducer, but when one drink turns into cocktail hour you’re adding to your dehydration and sleep deprivation.
- Stay awake
Until your new bedtime, that is. Taking an afternoon nap will only keep you up later. If that’s what you’re hoping for though, then nap away!
- Get out
When you arrive at your destination, take a walk and get some fresh air. Fresh air is kryptonite to jetlag, so stretch, breathe, and repeat.
- Get some sun
Combine with tip number seven and you have half your beach vaycay underway. Sunlight makes you feel better (okay, maybe not after you’ve been awake all night), but getting out in the sun will help you shake off the jetlag quickly.
If you are planning a trip anytime soon, speak to one of our travel experts to help you get there safely, with some bucks to spare.