Here’s How To Beat Jet Lag For Good

By Sarah M 9 months ago

1. Stay Hydrated!

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I hate to say it, but your parents were right all along - drinking more water really will make you feel better. We are advised to drink between 2.7 and 3.7 litres every day and no occasion is more important than when you are changing time-zones. Make sure you are drinking plenty of H2O before, during and after your flight. You can thank me later.

2. Adjust Slowly

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One of the main causes of bad jet lag is the sudden change to your body clock. Ease yourself in by making small, steady changes to your sleep cycle from a week before your trip. Slowly start to adjust your alarm clock to allow for the time difference and watch as the transition to another time-zone becomes easier than ever.

3. Lay Off the Alcohol

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Now, we all love a glass of prosecco at the airport to start off your vacation in style. However, if you are making a big leap between time-zones, you would be better reaching for the apple juice than the Champaign. Alcohol and Caffeine dehydrate us, which negatively affects our quality of sleep. If you are needing to sleep on this flight, step away from the minibar!

4. Catch Some Zzz's

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We know the feeling, you've been through the stress of checking in, you've waited hours to board, you're sat down ready to doze off and the excitement of your imminent trip just won't let you sleep! If your flight is overnight in the time-zone you are headed to, do yourself a favor and don't give in! Pop than eye mask on, earplugs in and try your best to relax.

5. Book The Right Flight

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To give yourself the best chance of avoiding the dreaded jet-lag, opt for a flight that arrives in your holiday destination during the country's daylight hours. This will give your brain the extra help it needs in understanding that you need to stay awake!

6. Don't Forget The Watch

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As soon as you are seated ready for take-off, before you take that 'Out of Office' selfie for your Insta or start combing through your choice of in-flight entertainment, it's time to change your watch. Whether it's your smartphone, computer or good old-fashioned wristwatch, changing your time-zone ahead of arrival will help your mind adjust.

7. Don't Stay in Your Seat

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To keep your body happy and healthy during the flight, it's crucial you aid your circulation by keeping active. Now, I'm not suggesting you annoy your fellow passengers by constantly getting up every five minutes, but a walk up and down the aisle or at very least an in-chair stretch every hour or so will do your body and mind the world of good.

8. Time To Binge Watch

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We have covered what to do if your flight is during your destination's night-time but what if it's the opposite and you need to stay awake? Maybe this is the perfect opportunity to binge watch that series everyone has been recommending you? Well, any excuse!

9. Be Careful with Sleep Aids

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There is a reason that some countries refuse to issue sleep-aids for flying - they may be helpful in the short term, but it is very important to do your research on possible side- effects. Talk with a healthcare professional if you struggle with sleep and have an upcoming long-haul flight, they will be able to offer you safe, short-term solutions.

10. Stay Comfy

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If you are settling in for a long flight, whether you need to try and sleep or keep yourself awake, the last thing you want to be is uncomfortable. Leave the jeans and boots in your luggage and put on your comfiest loungewear. Why punish yourself with restrictive clothing? This is your vacation after all!

11. Go Prepared!

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Getting a good sleep can be difficult enough at the best of times but when you are sat amongst the lights, noises and occasional turbulence of a commercial flight, it can feel impossible! Up your chances of a deep slumber by bringing along a padded eye mask and really good earplugs.

12. No Napping!

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On the other hand, if your new bedtime isn't until you land, put the sleep mask away and your eyes open! I know it will be tempting to try out a power-nap but as we all know, a short nap can very quickly become a long sleep if you are tired enough. Keep your eyes on the prize (and wide awake).

13. Exposure To Sunlight

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Once you have arrived and are settling into your holiday, be sure to spend as much time as possible outside. Natural sunlight works wonders for our confused body clocks; and if you are someone who's jet lag stays around for weeks, consider investing in a light therapy alarm-clock to ease you into the mornings.

14. Melatonin, Melatonin, Melatonin

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Again, this is one to first double-check with your doctor but if they give you the go- ahead, melatonin capsules are a great, natural way to regulate your sleep-cycle. You will usually only need to take one a day for the first 5 days of your trip to give your body clock an extra helping hand.

15. Keep Your Meals Light

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When we are visiting a beautiful new country with its own unique and delicious cuisine, it's understandable that we want to eat as much of it as possible! However, it is better to opt for more regular smaller dishes than one big meal before bedtime. A heavy meal in the evening can disrupt our sleep and prompt acid-reflux. It's time for tapas!

16. Stay Active on Arrival

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When you reach your destination, try not to spend ALL day on the sun lounger by the pool. Sure, spend most of your day there, who wouldn't? But be sure to keep your body active throughout the day- maybe a swim in the pool or a leisurely stroll around town? Whatever it is, keep that blood flowing.

17. Stimulate Your Mind

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It's important that your brain understands that it is daytime and time to be awake! Keep yourself alert by engaging in mentally stimulating activities throughout the day. Whether that is trying out your foreign language speaking, visiting places of historical interest or even just enjoying a great novel by the pool.

18. Be A Social Butterfly

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Although holidays can be a great opportunity to switch off and avoid people (or is that just me?), it's equally as important to socialise regularly to keep your brain alert and awake in your new time-zone. Even if it's just a quick chat with the barista at breakfast and some questions for the tour guide in the afternoon, staying social is key.

19. Relaxation Techniques

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When it is time to unwind for the evening, try out some relaxation techniques to help lull your body into a state of calm sleepiness. Meditation and breathing techniques are a great place to start, find a YouTube step-by-step to follow in your hotel room and enjoy a peaceful night's sleep.

20. Prioritise A New Sleep Schedule

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Don't give up after day one and fall into the 'I can nap whenever I want' vacation bliss. Set a routine and stick to it! Having a regular bedtime and wake up time will help you feel your best throughout the day, so you can enjoy your break to the fullest extent. Even better, why not incorporate this schedule into your everyday routine when you are back home? We could all do with more sleep!

21. No More Blue Light

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You have done all the hard work of staying alert, active and social, don't ruin it in the last moments of the day! It is all too easy to open your laptop or start scrolling through your social media just before bed but the blue-light that your screens produce actually tricks your brain into thinking it's still daytime. Put down the phone and snuggle up with a good book instead.

22. No Exercise Before Bed

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Now, this might sound a bit counterintuitive, surely all exercise is good for you? Well, when it comes to exercising for a good night's sleep, timing is everything! If you want to work out whilst on vacation, keep it to the first half of your day - lifting weights just before bed will only wake up your body and mind even more.

23. Water When You Arrive

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As much as you may want to start your day with a strong coffee, your first stop when you get off the plane and then first-thing every morning after that, should be a big glass of water. Flights and hotel room air-con dehydrate us and can leave us feeling ill and tired. A bottle of H2O is the only thing to get us back on-track.

24. Herbal Tea

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Put the double-shot caramel latte DOWN! If the goal is getting a good night's sleep, reach instead for the chamomile, peppermint or Lemon and Ginger tea and let yourself relax. The recorded benefits of herbal teas include strengthening your immune system, empowering your digestive system and most importantly, promoting healthy deep sleep.

25. Manage Stress

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Knowing you have to sleep when you just can't switch off is stressful enough. Give yourself a helping hand by cutting out as many exterior stresses before bedtime as possible. Consider incorporating mindfulness techniques into your evening routine to help yourself wind down.

26. Be Kind to Yourself!

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Remember, our bodies aren't designed to be changing time-zones so quickly and so often. Of course you are going to take some time to adjust! If it takes you a little longer than your fellow travellers, that is no reflection on your resilience - we all move at our own pace. If the jet lag has hit you hard, be sure to prioritise yourself.

27. Strategic Napping

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If you absolutely cannot keep your eyes open one second longer... at least be strategic about it. If you need to nap, set an alarm for 20 minutes and don't press snooze! After 20-30 minutes your body will enter into a deeper state of sleep which will affect your sleep-wake cycle for the rest of the day.

28. Stay Positive

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I know it might not feel like it right now, but this jet lag WILL pass. Our bodies and minds are extremely clever, you will adapt to your new environment, and chances are, you will have a lovely vacation too! Repeat after me: 'This jet lag is not forever!'

29. Treat Yourself!

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If you are in the grips of a horrible bout of jet lag, nothing is working, you are on vacation buy you can't deny you feel AWFUL... take some advice from the 'Parks and Rec' team and treat yourself! If you have put the work in to avoid the fatigue but it's just not working, do what makes you happy. You know yourself best and if you know a little sweet treat is the way forward, you should go for it!

30. Consult Your Doctor

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At the end of the day, jet lag is a medical issue and the person who can give you the best advice, guidance and treatment is your local healthcare professional. If you are a jetsetter and frequently changing time-zones for work (or fun!) they can help you develop a plan and strategies that work for you.