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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

Anyone who has travelled across an ocean or huge distances knows what jet-lag is. It completely throws off any sort of itinerary that you have scheduled for the first few days of your trip, eager to arrive and see the sights but disappointed when your body says its time to sleep in the middle of the afternoon and its time to eat at three in the morning. Travelling across time zones takes time to adjust, here are a few tips on how.

Jet-lag is your body’s way of reacting to the speed of travel. The most common symptoms are tiredness, headaches, swelling, confusion and disorientation and sometimes the onset of a cold. Plus your eating schedule is thrown way out of whack! The general rule of thumb is to give yourself at least 1 day to recover for each hour of time difference. It is a really good idea to prepare yourself and your itinerary once you arrive to your travel destination to accommodate this sometimes very inevitable thing.

For some travellers exercising on the day of the flight is the best way to insure they actually fall asleep on the flight, making good use of the precious hours between served meals and other interruptions. At the airport take the stairs instead of the escalators to get the blood circulating through your body before having to sit for the next 6 or more hours. One of the worst experiences many travellers admitted to taking a long-haul flight with a hangover. The general response is that it is absolutely terrible.

Some travellers who are really organized try to change their internal clock by just a few hours in the days leading up to their trip. Depending on which direction you will travel, try going to bed a little earlier and waking up a little earlier. Bit by bit your body will adjust much easier once you arrive.

Some travellers swear by the vitamins and herbal remedies for jet-lag. Melatonin for example, is a chemical in our bodies that regulates sleep cycles. Many drug stores carry this in pill form but some studies have shown that it can actually cause more fatigue if taken at the wrong time. Sleeping pills and other medications can also be helpful for some, but can also have the opposite effects leaving you groggy and temperamental.

The most simple and the best advice for fighting the inevitable jet-lag is to eat well, food that is easily digestible. Some foods that help keep you awake are peanuts, eggs, meats: food that is generally high in protein. For the opposite, stick to carbs: pastas and breads. Once you arrive, get out into the fresh air and move your muscles again. After being cramped in an airplane seat for so many hours can only have negative effects on your body so loosen up and stretch and walk. Hit up a yoga class on the day you arrive or explore the city by foot to get your bearings. Eat foods that are rich in vitamin C and fibre and start enjoying your travels!

How do you fight jet-lag? Add some tips to our list by commenting below.

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2 responses to “Jet-lag… how to fight it!

  1. a lot a lot of coffee and walking, spending as much time outdoors as possible so that you really see its still light out even if you are so tired.

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