You’ve survived your long haul flight! Yay! So how do you combat jet lag for an easy recovery? The good news is, jet lag is temporary and the bad news is… the further you fly from where you started, the worse it’s gonna be. Yep. So the best way to beat jet lag is to prevent it!
Normally it takes about one day of recovery per time zone that you’ e travelled. So if you’re travelling some kinda crazy distance, and gotta be shit-hot on day one in the new time zone, it’s best to nip this jet lag rubbish in the bud, stat!
Just so you understand why the heck your body is freaking out with jet lag: Your body has some sort of magical internal biological clock that follows a 24-hour cycle. It’s called a circadian rhythm. That means, your brain pretty much releases chemicals to tell your body when it’s a good time to go to sleep.
I’m gonna start first, with some travel hacks that none of you will use… Here are some totally unrealistic circadian body hacks:
The good people of NASA have derived a way to send sleep adjusted astronauts to space. Since this is scientifically proven you can do what the astronauts do and change your sleeping habits a few days before your long-haul flight to the timezone of your destination. It’s a pain, I know, and highly unlikely you’ll be able to pull this off because let’s face it, we’re busy people. I don’t expect a single one of you to try this… but it’s a tip worth sharing and is there for the taking.
Another crazy suggestion and one I’ve actually tried and have proven works for me is flying with the sun! If you’re travelling a crazy distance and actually have the option to fly with the sun, do it. Because, when you’re flying against the sun, or East, it’s way harder for your body to adjust. When you fly West, the sun is up longer, so it’s easier for you to stay awake.
If time and distance is on your side, break up your trip with a stopover in a another part of the world. I did this once and stopped off in New Zealand on my way to Sydney at no extra cost. A lot of big airlines will run cheap deals and promotions for a layover of a few days somewhere along their route, too. So, if you’ve got time on your side, give it a go and stop a few days for a bit of R&R in a fun place. Another thing you can do is get an around the world ticket and fly with the sun. Farfetched, I know… but I have noticed quite a few return flights that are the same price as an RTW ticket. This could make for quite the adventure!
Try an upgrade. Sometimes airlines run upgrade deals with points so do you’re willing to part for a few thousand points, you can fly in total over the top comfort. I did this once. I felt a bit ridiculous being handed a table cloth for my fold down tray table, but to each their own… Also, for us normal people sometimes you can score an entire row to yourself. I’ve been lucky enough to able to spread out over three seats. This is total luxury when you’re travelling over crazy distances!
So bottom line, this is how I felt virtually zero jet lag when I got to Sydney. I believe it’s because the seats are bigger, and since I was only sitting next to one other person, it was easier for me to move around the cabin. When I got off the plane after my 14 hour flight and cleared customs… it was like, “What jet lag?”
Ok… so here’s actual “real world” jet lag killers:
Stay hydrated by drinking tons of water and avoid coffee and alcohol. Totally not fun if you’re sitting in the window seat, but all over necessary as the air on airplanes can be quite dry.
If you’ve got melatonin, take it! Sure, it works but if you’re flying, be sure to take it at an appropriate time so you’re not a walking zombie at your airport changeover.
Relaxxxxxxx…. easy to say and hard to implement if you hate flying…. but, books are good to make you tired, or if you prefer to watch a movie in the in-flight entertainment, turn the brightness right down. Watching a movie doesn’t always work because electronics like computer and mobile phone screens work with blue lights and are known to seriously mess up your sleeping habits. This is why books rule.
The one I seriously hate but everyone suggests is… stay awake for as long as possible at your destination. This does work but you’ve got a world of pain on your hands. It’s kinda like going jet lag cold-turkey. It totally sucks. I prefer to sleep when my body needs sleep.
I personally drink loooooads of coffee when I reach my final destination. It’s my jet lag happy place (if there is such a thing).
Do you have any tips to combat jet lag? Please share in the comments!
An Aussie girl gone walkabout in the great big world!