The last few nights have been a bit shorter than usual. No, it’s not because of a busy social life. Jetlag finally kicked in again. Earlier this month, I attended a wedding half-way around the world and it was a great time. Seeing friends and family again, catching up with ex-colleagues, enjoying blue skies. It was a wonderful trip. The 9 hour time difference also meant that my normal day was turned upside down. Are you travelling long-distance this summer, too? Benefit from our trips to reduce the impact jetlag will have on you and your trip.
What is jetlag?
Jetlag is probably one of the most common sleep disorders. Travellers crossing multiple time zones experience the imbalance this rapid change in time has on their natural or biological clock. As a result, you may feel tired during times you normally are more awake and alert.
As more research had been carried out, it was discovered that travelling east is more challenging adjust to than going west. For example, if you are based in the Middle East and you’re going to Canada (going west), that’ll be easier for your body than going to China (going east).
We’ve noticed this ourselves, too. Arriving in Chicago, having a short nap and staying up late was a lot easier than our return to this region.
You may experience jetlag over a number of days. This is because your body will need to adjust to the local time. As a rule of thumb, your body requires one day for each time zone you pass.
How to avoid it?
For most people, jetlag is a pure nuisance. We thus suggest being prepared for your next long-distance travel:
- Book a flight that lands in the early evening and stay up until evening
- If travelling with children, try to get them used to the new time zone by getting them to bed earlier or later (depending where you travel to)
- Change your watch and phone to the time zone of your destination as you board the plane
- Keep hydrated and avoid stimulants like caffeine and alcohol
- Get up and walk around during the flight
- Have a short nap (less than one hour) if you must upon arrival
- Eat light meals at your destination
- Go for a walk in day light at your destination, don’t exercise before you go to bed
- Avoid watching TV or spending too much time on your phone, tablet or laptop
- Read a magazine or book or listen to music if you can’t sleep
- Use an eye mask if your hotel doesn’t have black out blinds to sleep through the night
- Bring earplugs to create a quiet place to sleep
- Put phone on silence
- Request a wake up call from the hotel reception to avoid oversleeping
In the past, I’ve travelled extensively for work and kept my home time zone for short trips (up to 3 days). My old boss suggested that and I have to say, she was right!
What other tips have you found useful for reducing your jetlag?
Until next time,