Want to arrive in your new location rested, rejuvenated and on-schedule? Follow these five tips and jet lag will become a thing of the past.
Unlike most people, I actually love long-haul flights. There is nothing more satisfying than arriving at an airport with a well-packed carry-on bag, some comfortable clothes and a movie marathon ahead of me. This wasn’t how I always felt though. In the first few years of flying between Australia and the UK I would arrive tired, disoriented and in desperate need of a shower! It was through trial and error that I slowly built up the skills to fly comfortably and almost eliminating jet lag in the process. Here are my tips to enjoying air travel and arriving at your destination rested, rejuvenated and on schedule.
I always find night time flights are the best for eliminating or reducing the impacts of jet lag.
1. Fly at night
For long-haul trips I find night time flights are the best for eliminating or reducing the impacts of jet lag. This is true even though I can’t fall asleep on a flight, even if my life depended on it. If you are a good sleeper then overnight flights will help the time go by quickly and will improve your energy levels upon arrival. Most long-haul flights have an overnight option, and I always find it is worth paying a little bit extra for that non-stop direct flight, or to avoid a long connection during night-time.
2. Get comfortable
Being comfortable is essential for feeling good while flying and having the extra pep in your step upon arrival. Wear loose fitting clothes, and dress in layers as it’s hard to predict if the flight will be too cold or too hot (it’s usually one extreme or the other). You will want to pack an extra set of clothes to change into before landing or as soon as you get to the airport. Also ensure to pack a comfort bag, which can include items such as your tooth brush, toothpaste, hair brush, deodorant, hand sanitizer, face wipes, moisturizer and whatever else you need to freshen up mid-flight.
3. Boost the immune system
Many people I know get sick almost every time they fly. Not me. I am relentless about keeping my immune system strong, so that it’s ready to battle any germs and bacteria that may be present on the flight. The simplest way to keep the immune system strong is being well rested and properly hydrated leading up to the flight. Avoid alcohol, smoking, sugary foods and late nights; anything that will deteriorate your immune system. You may want to take supplements such as vitamin C or a multi-vitamin for an extra dose of defence. But under most circumstances being well rested, properly hydrated and nourished will be the antidote for avoiding sickness from a rundown immune system.
Many people I know get sick almost every time they fly. Not me. I am relentless about keeping my immune system strong.
4. Embrace the new time zone
After a long-haul flight, avoid the temptation to go to sleep as soon as you arrive (unless of course it’s night-time in your new destination). Try staying up as long as you can, and going to bed as close as you can to your new bedtime hour. In the past I have just crashed after flying for many hours which resulted in extreme difficulty falling asleep when it was actually night-time. If you just can’t stay awake, set your alarm and nap no longer than two hours, just enough to take the edge off, but not so much so that you’ll compromise your night-time slumber.
5. Expect a gradual recalibration
Don’t expect to be on schedule right away. Usually it takes 5-7 days to completely adjust to a new time zone. Whenever I fly from the UK to Australia I am up before the sun. Instead of fighting this natural rhythm I use this time productively and either get my work-out earlier than normal, or get some work done before breakfast. Of course you will need to go to bed earlier than normal to compensate for the early rising, but after a few days of an adjusted schedule you’ll be back on board completely in sync with your new time zone.
There are so many factors to consider when living abroad, and regular travel back to the UK may be part of your new reality. As you become a ‘frequent flyer’ you may pick up some tips of your own or discovered unique idiosyncrasies in your flying experiences.