Jet lag is a common symptom of having your regular sleep pattern disturbed because of a long flight. While the effects usually improve a few days after you land, that period while your body adjusts to your new time zone can be a very unpleasant start or finish to any trip. Whether it affects you a little or a lot, one thing is almost guaranteed – you’ll be craving your own bed before long. That aside, we’ve compiled these 7 simple little tips for recovering from jetlag.
1. Get a good night’s sleep before you fly
Whether it’s excitement, nerves or last-minute packing, passengers often end up getting only a few hours sleep before a long flight. Sometimes we even deliberately stay awake hoping that this extra tiredness will allow us to sleep on the flight. Whatever the reason, this should be avoided at all costs. Last-minute changes to your routine like these will only serve to make it harder for you to adjust to the new time zone you’re about to visit. A long, full, undisturbed sleep on a high-quality mattress is the best preparation you can have for any long flight. We have plenty of tips on getting a better-quality night’s sleep and the type of mattresses that will help achieve this, throughout our blog.
2. Schedule a stopover
While most travellers actively try to avoid stopovers, preferring instead to just get there as quickly and painlessly as possible, scheduling in a stopover will actually give your body more time to adapt to your new routine and time zone. What’s more, due to their declining popularity, many airlines offer reduced fares for flights that include stopovers, with some even including them for free. With a reduced chance of getting jetlag and a reduced cost of your ticket, a stopover might be the best accessory you bring on your trip.
3. Cut out caffeine and abstain from alcohol
Sorry to be party-poopers but when it comes to jetlag, that traditional post-security pint is actually one of the worst ways to start your holiday. Quite simply, having alcohol in your system at altitude increases tiredness and causes dehydration, two of the major causes of jetlag. You should also avoid caffeine-heavy beverages like coffee and cola and energy drinks especially. It goes without saying that artificial stimulants like these will adversely affect your ability to sleep and then recover from the jetlag. On the other hand, if you drink lots of water you will stay nicely hydrated, thus decreasing the chances of jetlag when you land.
4. Sleep is your strongest defence
Even if you have to force yourself, try and get at least the same amount of sleep that you normally would in a regular 24-hour period. Short ‘powernaps’ are ideal on flights given the increased chances that you will be woken up by cabin announcements, turbulence or other passengers. Once you arrive, try to quickly make up any shortfall in the hours of sleep you normally get, with a quick snooze in your hotel.
5. Adjust your watch on the plane
The best way to reduce the effects of jetlag is to mentally prepare yourself for your new rhythm as soon as possible. Think of the time you spend on the plane as time already spent at your destination. To make this easier, set your watch or your phone to the timezone of your destination once you step onboard. So, if it’s still daytime at your destination, you should also try to keep yourself awake on the plane. It will be especially difficult to stop yourself from falling asleep on the plane if they dim the cabin lights but this is just a good excuse for you to watch a movie, catch up on some reading or even make friends with the passenger beside you if they’re up for it. On the other hand, if it’s night time at your destination, this is the perfect time to get some shuteye.
6. Turn lights up or off
One of the simplest but most effective ways to reduce the effects of jetlag is to go out into the daylight or mimic daylight conditions. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a crucial role in helping you feel tired and ultimately leading to you falling asleep. Sunlight inhibits its production. So if you’re trying to delay falling asleep while you’re flying, leave the overhead light on for as long as possible. This should help you overcome your fatigue and stay awake for longer. Alternatively, if you’re having trouble falling asleep, make things as dark as possible. Turn off the overhead light and throw on your eye mask. Relax, get those melatonin levels up and try and get as much interrupted sleep as possible.
7. Prepare for your return home
Don’t forget that jetlag can work both ways. You don’t want to ruin a great trip by coming back tired, irritable or even regretting you ever went on holidays. Prepare for the possibility of jetlag before you leave your destination. If you’re flying from west to east, go to bed earlier and get up earlier again. Likewise, if you’re coming home from a great distance like Australia or Asia, try to stay awake for longer and stay in bed a little later in the morning.
Give us a try before you fly
As already mentioned, one of the best ways to avoid or recover from jetlag is to get a good night’s sleep. And the key to that is finding the perfect mattresses.
With over 30 years providing expert sleeping solutions for customers across the country, The Natural Sleep Company can help you find whatever you need to know before you buy the right mattresses for you and your family. You’ll find a host of great solutions and advice on our main blog. Please contact our team of dedicated experts today with any questions on finding the perfect nights sleep.