Monday, 10 April 2017

How To Avoid Jet Lag

If you have flown long haul you have probably had jet lag at some point.  You know those feelings  - difficulty in sleeping, disorientation, loss of appetite, but jet lag can materialise in a number of other ways too. In this article I will talk about jet lag, if you can prevent it and treatments for this condition. 




What is jet lag?

Jet lag is a term used to describe a range of temporary symptoms caused by air travel over different time zones due to the disruption in your internal 'body clock' or circadian rhythm. The symptoms materialise when adapting to the different light/dark schedule of a new time zone.


These symptoms can include the following:-
  • disturbed sleep pattern 
  • nausea 
  • loss of appetite 
  • difficulty in concentrating 
  • disorientation 
  • clumsiness 
  • headaches 
  • indigestion 
  • constipation 
  • irritability 
  • irregular periods

Jet lag is worse when you travel over a number of time zones and travelling east is worse than travelling west. When you travel east you effectively lose time and when you travel west you will effectively gain time and the body adjusts better to gaining time and having a longer day.

In most cases, jet lag symptoms pass in a few days but there are some things you can do to lessen the effects of jet lag in the first place.

Can jet lag be prevented?



It is difficult to avoid jet lag completely when you are travelling over a number of time zones but there are a number of things you can do to lessen the effects on you.

Keep hydrated - make sure she drink plenty of fluids and lay off the caffeine and alcohol which can dehydrate you.

Get plenty of rest - before you go on your journey ensure you try and relax and get plenty of sleep beforehand. 

Avoid sleeping tablets - these won't help your body adjust to the different time zones so are best avoided where possible.

Set your watch to the destination time - when you get on the plane if you set your watch it helps you mentally adjust to the different time zones.

Fly on a Dreamliner plane - a Boeing Dreamliner plane has a pressurised cabin at 6000 feet other than the normal 8000 feet, this means the cabin air is more dense and there is more oxygen saturation. This combined with LED lighting that subtly changes with the time zones and superior quailty air with 10 per cent more oxygen means less chance of jet lag.

Treatment for jet lag


On arrival stay awake until the local bedtime. If you find that hard try getting some fresh air and go for a brisk walk if it's daylight as this will also help you stay awake. 

Establish a local routine straight away to get you and your body used to the country you are in and the time zone. Eat and sleep at the local time not the time you would at home.

Research has shown that sunglasses may help reduce the effects of jet lag, so wear these to emulate nighttime. 


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Consider using Melatonin a naturally occurring hormone. Melatonin which is produced by the body when it is dark, has been found to help people sleep and reduce general feelings of jet lag. Melatonin is available on prescription in the UK and online, and widely available over the counter in the US. If in doubt and before taking any medication always check with a Dr first.

Tell me, have you flown long haul? Have you ever experienced jet lag?

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25 comments

  1. Great post. I hardly ever experience jet lag when I'm on holiday (probably because I am doing fun stuff) it seems worse when I've come home!!

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    1. It does depend on how long you fly and if you are going east to west or west to east as well. Excitement can carry you over though I feel!

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  2. I'm one of the annoyingly lucky people who doesn't suffer from Jet Lag... Although my wife certainly does!

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    1. How do you do it Gareth? You must be one of the lucky ones.

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  3. I have never flown long haul, but will be this year, so I will bear all this in mind, thank you :) I think I will try my best to stay awake to the local bedtime, and get up as usual in the morning, and stick to it! I think after 2-3 nights it will all work it's self out?!

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  4. I am also like Gareth above and don't suffer from Jet lag but what does confuse me is the change in hour with clocks going forwards and backwards, it takes me days to adjust x

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  5. I dislike flying so I'm afraid this isn't something I've every experienced, I'm sure these tips will be really useful to some though.

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  6. Whenever I fly with Thomson long haul, we ALWAYS upgrade to the Dreamliner, it makes such a difference to how I feel during and after the flight!! xxx

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    1. I'm going on a Dreamliner for the first time in October, so I can't wait to try it out.

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  7. I havent been able to fly for about 20 years now. But i can clearly remember going to America and feeling rotten for a few days each way. Some great tips for those who travel regularly or on longer flights for a holiday x

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  8. Jet Lag I have found seems to get worse on long haul as I have got older, and takes so long to get over after returning home. An interesting read x

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    1. Now that's interesting Carol, I wonder if it gets worse the older we get?

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  9. I had really bad jet lag when i came home from australia. It was awful but my biggest mistake was falling asleep when i got home!

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    1. I bet that journey is a killer and then you have the jet lag when you come home too!

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  10. Ive got a flight to las vegas this year. Ill keep these in mind!

    therealnessonline.com

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  11. I am usually ok with jet lag and doesn't take me too long to adjust. my husband however.....

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  12. I suffered flying to Dubai, it was only six hours, but then six hours in front and I couldn't get my bodyclock right.

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    1. How long did it take for you to get back to normal.

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  13. I fly long haul, and one time I had really severe jet lag. Thanks for the tips

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  14. I didn't know that about dreamliners! I am terrible with jet lag as I just can't keep myself awake when I'm tired... :Z

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    1. I'm trying a Dreamliner for the first time in October, so will report back!

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  15. I had terrible jet lag coming home from Hong Kong a few years ago. Took me a good 4-5 days to feel totally normal. We had a late flight then it took 15 hours to get back and I find it hard to sleep on planes so I'd been up about 32 hours straight when we got home. Not fun x

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    1. That sounds like a nightmare. Jet Lag can make your life a misery. Hopefully my post is of use to you for your next long haul trip.

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  16. I've never had jet lag but the longest I've flown for was about five hours. It must be really irritating to feel bad on the first few days of your holiday
    Debbie

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