Travel Hacks: How To Avoid Jetlag

If you’re one of the few people who don’t get jet lagged after a long-haul flight, you’re in the minority.

Even the most experienced travellers fall prey to the disorientating clutches of jet lag. Read on to discover how you can make like Cher and literally turn back time.

What Is Jet lag?

Not a disease or condition per se, jet lag is actually a mismatch between our internal and external clocks. Our internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, is a biological cycle that takes place over a time span of approximately 24 hours. Once we travel across time zones, this rhythm goes out of whack – and we spend the next weeks (possibly months) settling back into our bodies’ natural biorhythms.

Why Does Jet lag Happen?

The more time zones you cross, the more likely you are to experience jet lag. Contrary to popular perception, the duration of the flight time has nothing to do with jet lag! 

Read on to discover what you can do to #beatthelag.

Tip #1 - Work out the time zone of your destination

The fantastic Time Scroller app is a handy tool to have in your pocket to compare different time zones around the world. Aim to get in the rhythm of the new time zone during your flight by eating and sleeping at the appropriate times on the ‘other side’.

Tip # 2 – Be Mindful of how many time zones you will cross

It takes one full day to adjust to every hour of time zone shift. For example, if you are travelling from Sydney to London, you will traverse 10 time meridians, which is equivalent of approximately 10 days of jetlag. Ouch! Don’t beat yourself up if it takes a fortnight or longer to fully recover from jetlag. Use tip #1 to get into the timezone of where you currently are.

Tip # 3 – Set Your Watch

It sounds simple enough, but setting your watch to the local time of your destination is a practical step in helping you achieve Tip #1. A quick glance at your watch is far less disturbing to your sleep than groggily rustling through your pocket, or the seat pocket in front, to check the time on your phone.

Tip # 4 – Exercise In Your Destination Timezone

Working out in the mornings of your destination timezone means that you’ll get the blood flowing and stay awake, especially when your body tells you SLEEP DAMMIT SLEEP! The plus side? You’ll get an energy burst that tails off into a nice feeling of fatigue by the evening, further settling you into your new time zone.

Travel Hacks: How To Go To Sleep & Wake Up Using Natural Stimulants & Depressants

Getting much-needed sleep on the plane ranks high on the regular traveler’s wishlist.

Between the hum of the engines, creak of the trolleys, frequent audio announcements and crying babies (there’s always at least one), sleep becomes a precious commodity in the air – eclipsed only by oxygen and water at 40,000 miles above the earth.

The use of stimulants and depressants can help your body prepare for sleep – or alternatively, wake up in time for landing. Stimulants generally speed up the body's processes while depressants slow them down. Read on to discover how you can best make use of stimulants and depressants to catch the z’s your body desperately needs – and which ones to avoid.

Naughty Stimulant  - Caffeine

It’s all-too easy to take that warm cup o’ Joe the flight crew will inevitably offer, but keep in mind that drinking coffee will easily dehydrate your system. Temptation is strong to have a mid-air coffee, especially during domestic or short-haul flights, but your best bet is to drink herbal tea for that tummy-warming sensation.

Nice Stimulant – Half and Apple

Believe it or not, eating half an apple is actually more effective in keeping you awake than a cup of coffee. Some airlines regularly carry fruit on board, so check with your flight crew when embarking on the plane. Eating half an apple means you’ll also get the double whammy of absorbing important antioxidants, flavanoids and dietary fibre that coffee just can’t offer.

Naughty Depressant – Alcohol

Many of us have fallen into the trap of thinking a few G&T’s or complimentary wines will help aid the sleeping process. Sorry guys, alcohol is a depressant AND a big time dehydrator that will only bite you when you reach your destination – or worse – in the toilet cubicle when the seatbelt signs are switched on. It’s not worth the risk going that one-drink too far in a pressurised cabin environment where the risk of missing your connecting flight is, er, sky high.

Nice Depressant - Melatonin

Melatonin is a naturally occurring compound that helps the body know when it is time to sleep and wake up. The level of melatonin in our bodies declines as we age, which explains why older people often sleep less. Available in capsule form from the vitamin section of your local chemist or drugstore, take a Melatonin supplement at the bedtime timezone of your target destination to help acclimatise your body clock and sleeping rhythms more easily.

Travel Hacks: How To Best Prepare For A Flight

Whether you’re a frequent business traveler or like to treat yo’ self to a yearly overseas holiday, plane travel can take a hefty toll on our physical and mental health.

The best way to prevent both the terrors of jetlag and getting sick upon arriving at your destination (the worst!) is to prepare.

Learn to maximize and optimize your travel experiences with a few simple tips that will ensure you arrive at your destination flying #milehigh in perfect health.

Tip # 1 - Drink Fresh Juice...Lots Of It

This is one of the few times I recommend drinking more than one juice per day for a few important reasons. Drinking a raw juice on the morning of your flight, as well as at the airport, will boost your vitamin levels to sky-high levels. Whatever your choice of fruit, make sure you add ginger for it’s anti-microbial properties and kale for it’s high levels of vitamin C sans sugar. Once the plane has taken off and the drinks cart does the rounds, avoid apple and orange juice, as all that processed sugar won’t do you any favours. Instead, switch to tomato juice for its rich vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content.

Tip # 2 - Kefir It Up

Kefir is a fermented drinkable yoghurt made from either cow, goat or coconut milk that is chockablock full of live probiotic cultures. Adding kefir to your breakfast is not only a great way to get more good bacteria into your gut, but certain probiotic cultures found exclusively in kefir have been shown to protect against infections and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, including E. coli. Get your daily kefir fix before the flight and fly high into maintaining optimum digestive health well into reaching your destination.

Tip # 3 - Vitamin Infusion

Go see your GP a week before take off and get an IV vitamin infusion - read more about vitamin infusions on my previous blog post here. Having a vitamin infusion a week before travel will ensure your vitamin levels are at their peak and your immune system is turbocharged in advance. You’ll also be less likely to catch any sniffles or sneezes circulating on the plane. Talk  to your GP about the right vitamin infusion for you. 

Tip # 4 - Drink More Water

Planes have an incredible way of making you feel like the living embodiment of the sahara desert. We all know we ought to be drinking 3 litres a day of water, but sometimes a busy schedule can get in the way. I can’t stress the importance of hydration before, during and after a flight – your body will thank you at your destination. Make sure you drink regularly anytime between  2 weeks to 2 hours before the flight. Bring an empty bottle with you through security and have it handy during the flight for refills. As the great Zoolander said, “Moisture is the essence of wetness and wetness is the essence of beauty!”.