words Al Woods
Usually, there are estimated to be over 1,200,000 people worldwide in the air at any one time. Travelling in planes has become a vital part of many of our lives; some have to travel regularly for business purposes, whilst the rest of us use planes to travel to far-flung holiday destinations to explore different cultures.
Now, granted international travel hasn’t been quite the same as it used to be after 2020, but there’s plenty of people eager to return to normality as soon as possible.
Plane travel can be fun, especially if done infrequently and the excitement is building for a vacation, but it’s not without its challenges. Depending on your destination, the local time might be considerably different to where we started our journey, meaning our bodies are not synced up with the local timezone. The result of this is the dreaded jet lag, where tiredness creeps in at inconvenient points in the day, and prevents you from fully enjoying your time to the max. For business travellers this is even more problematic, as a long haul trip might only be for a nights stay, and require focus in an important meeting.
Reducing the effects of jet lag are therefore in everyone’s interest, here’s how to do it.
Prepare in advance
To reduce the very sudden sleep/wake cycle adjustment that your body has to do once landed, you can get ahead of the game by shifting your waking hours in advance of setting off. If you were flying west, and your schedule allowed for it, you could try eating dinner and going to sleep half an hour later each day for a few days before your trip so your body is closer in matching it’s timezone to that of the destination country, whilst keeping your circadian rhythm happy.
It’s very tempting to take full advantage of complimentary drinks whilst on a flight, be that alcoholic beverages or high caffeine drinks like tea or coffee. Both of these options are dehydrating, so make sure you’re drinking enough water even if it means you have to go to use the onboard loos more frequently. Hydration is a key component of recovering from jet lag fast, so this is not one to skip over.
Fatty, carb-heavy meals before flying is not a good idea, even though they’re very tempting when you have a few hours to kill at the airport. They’re hard to digest, meaning that if you did want to sleep on the flight, this will be more difficult. They also offer little in the way of nutrients, necessary to keep your energy levels up and your body healthy.
Take a Melatonin Supplement
Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone that gets secreted when our body is preparing to sleep, usually triggered by darkness. Taking a supplement of melatonin can help the body to get in line with the local timezone and help your sleep cycle adjust quicker.
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