Moving through time zones can play havoc with sleep routines. Basically, our bodies follow a 24-hour cycle known as the ‘circadian rhythm’ which regulates when we sleep and when we wake. Travelling to a new time zone throws this circadian rhythm out of whack and it can take a few days to adjust. That’s why you find yourself tired when it’s midday and wide awake when you should be sleeping in your new destination.
Many factors can worsen jetlag, including alcohol, lack of movement and disrupted sleep. We’ve pulled together these top tips to help you limit the jetlag impact and feel like your good old self in no time.
Hydration is key. If you often find yourself stepping off a plane feeling pretty horrid, it’s probably due to the fact you’re dehydrated. Airplanes are the perfect environment for sucking out all moisture. To put it in perspective, the humidity during a flight can be as low as 10 – 15%, which is three times drier than the Sahara desert! Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight. Pack your reusable water bottle in your carry-on so you can fill it up at the airport water fountains after security, and keep it topped up on board.
You won’t be able to hit your daily step count during the flight, and we don’t expect you to start doing walking lunges down the aisle, but it’s important to get up and move as much as possible to keep your circulation in check. Check out the in-flight magazines as these usually have simple stretches you can do onboard – like rolling your ankles and calf raises, which can be done whilst sitting in your seat.
What you eat before and during the flight can have a massive impact on how you feel on arrival. It’s important to eat foods that will help you stay relaxed and comfortable, so you manage to get some decent shuteye. Try and choose something that’s high in protein so you stay fuller for longer and are less likely to indulge in salty snacks or sugary desserts.
We know it’s tempting to knock back a couple of gin and tonics when the drink cart comes around, but if you really want to help yourself, the only double you should be asking for is a double glass of water. The effects of alcohol are increased by the plane’s high altitude. When you add this to the dryness of the plane from the recycled air, the combination worsens the feeling of an eventual hangover and jeg lag. If you do find yourself with an alcoholic beverage in hand, make sure it’s followed with water.