Quick tips to help you manage jet lag.

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Recently a friend asked for some tips to manage jet lag. Personally, I do not take medication to help me sleep, or melatonin, preferring to manage my body clock myself. Below are my tips, based on 25+ years of frequent air travel and time differences to manage.

Start preparing before you leave. Rest up and have a couple of relaxing days before you travel. No frantic last minute packing !

Eat a light meal before you travel, and give yourself time to start digesting it before you fly.

Avoid alcohol as it is dehydrating, and fizzy drinks, as they just make you bloated an uncomfortable. Keep coffee to a minimum.

Drink plenty of water or juice, and I mean plenty, aircraft are very dehydrating and not just to your skin. Dehydration only contributes to making you feel rubbish and taking longer to adjust. Keep drinking lots of water for the first few days after you arrive, it will help you, honestly.

Try to sleep on the flight, or at the very least, rest, watch movies, doze. There is a reason that the window blinds are closed, and the heating is turned up, it is to help you sleep.

If possible, try to arrive at your destination mid-afternoon or early evening and go to bed as close as possible to bedtime local time. If you are hungry, opt for a light meal a couple of hours before you sleep, so that your body is not trying to deal with two things at once. A full tummy only makes it harder to sleep anyway

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If arriving mid-morning/lunchtime, plan something to keep you busy. You might not take everything in, but trust me, if you can stay awake until 9pm, you will be on the road to a perkier second day.

However, if you arrive early morning, and you can check into your room. You could sleep for 2 hours, BUT set an alarm, and make yourself get up! Ignore the alarm and sleep in at your peril, days later you will still be waking in the middle of the night.

Don’t be tempted to turn on the TV, your laptop, phone etc, the blue screens are a proven stimulus and will keep your brain awake. Instead opt for an audio book on low volume close to the bed. Make sure that you set the sleep timer so it does not go all night, as when you move in and out of the different levels of sleep, it may wake you up again!

Finally, don’t keep telling yourself what time it is at home, or wherever you flew in from, it does nothing to help you adjust.

Resist the urge to clock watch.

Resist the urge to clock watch.

Janet Mactavish