How to Beat Jet Lag

Eat a protein-rich meal. Proteins help your brain to produce neurochemicals that increase your alertness.

Jet lag. It’s one of only a few downfalls of international travel. But the good news is, it can be partially prevented.

To help you reset your body clock, sleep better, wake up focused, and stay alert during the day, we have pulled together a list of ways to minimise jet lag.

Before the Flight

Rest up

Rest well prior to travel. A lack of sleep will make you more vulnerable to jet lag.

Avoid stress

Make sure you have packed everything you need and that your itinerary is in order. Arrive at the airport ahead of time to avoid last-minute stress. A calm frame of mind will help you relax during your flight.

Acclimatise

Change your sleep routine. Push your schedule back or forward, depending on where you are going. This will give your body a chance to gradually adjust to your new time zone.

Carb-load

Eat a carb-dense meal for dinner on the night before your flight. Research on clock genes has uncovered subtle effects that indicate carbs boost your ability to sleep.

During the Flight

Fly Business Class

The perks of Business Class can make your trip more comfortable and ensure that you rest well during your flight.

Reset your clock

As soon as you begin your flight, set your watch to the time at your destination and eat and sleep accordingly. This will help you to mentally prepare for your new time zone.

Stay hydrated

Drink water and avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages during your flight. Dehydration messes with your internal clock and exaggerates jet lag symptoms.

Cocoon

Eliminate noise with earplugs, block out light with an eye shade, and crank the air-conditioning to lower your body temperaturea lower core temperature signals it is time for sleep.

After the Flight

Expose yourself to light

Light is essential for resetting your internal clock. If you arrive at your destination during the day, get outside to take in natural daylight.

Protein-load

Eat a protein-rich meal. Proteins help your brain to produce neurochemicals that increase your alertness.

Warm up

Research indicates that elevating your body temperature can help reset your circadian rhythms. Exercise, take a sauna or relax in a warm bath to stay alert.

Acclimatise

Reset your internal clock by eating, going to bed, and waking up according to local time. 

Words by Alice Nash - Published 15 June 2012
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