In a few weeks I’ll be flying to NYC via Doha from Sofia. It’s going to be a loong trip – 18hours total flight time. The last time when I had a long flight Sofia – Istanbul – Jakarta I didn’t have problems with the jet lag, although when landing in Jakarta the local time was around 6pm and I had just woke up and had breakfast on board…Anyway it was harder for me to beat jet lag when going back from Bali – Jakarta – Istanbul – Sofia. I didn’t have any sleeping problems in Indonesia, but when I got home I used to get up at 5a.m every single morning! It was so exhausting… I think many of you are facing the same problem, so in today’s article I will tell you how to beat jet lag!
On first place – what is jet lag? Jet lag is a condition that causes feelings of tiredness and confusion. It occurs when a person travels across different time zones.
Time zone – the world is divided into 24 time zones. Greenwich Meridian Line is the base used to measure longitude.
Cause of jet lag – When your body’s circadian rhythm (natural 24-hour-routine) is disrupted, jet lag can occur. A reduction in oxygen levels while flying can also be a factor.
Risk factor – Dehydration, lack of sleep, alcohol, stress and age increase the severity of jet lag.
EAST vs WEST – Jet lag usually worse when travelling east because you lose hours in the day. It’s easier to stay awake than force yourself to sleep.
You must know the symptoms as well!
- disturbed sleep pattern
- feeling disoriented
- irregular periods in women who travel frequently
And here is the prevention plan!
If you do not want to experience all the symptoms above, the first thing you need to do before your flight is to adjust your sleeping pattern beforehand. Adapt your sleeping pattern a few days before the journey to help your body adjust to the new time zone. You have to get enough sleep before your flight as a lack of rest can worsen symptoms. You should try to avoid stress and try to keep calm and relaxed before your journey.
When you get on the plane you can adjust your watch to the new time zone and rest during the flight. It is very important to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, but you should avoid drinks that contain caffeine, such as cola, tea and coffee. Don’t forget to avoid alcohol and other fizzy drinks. You should also avoid junk food and heavy meals. Keep active by stretching your arms and legs, and take regular walks to lower your risk of deep vein thrombosis.
After the flight upon your arrival you can spend time outside, preferably in natural sunlight. This can help your body adjust quicker to your new environment. You should eat light meals as this can reduce fatigue after flying and stretch or exercise in mornings/evenings to improve sleep and blood circulation. If you eat a high protein breakfast the morning you arrive it will help you prevent tiredness and keep you alert.