04 Mar
A plane in the sky

Tips for travellers: How to avoid jet lag

Being jet lagged when we arrive at a new location can seriously hamper how we kick-start our holiday. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to help stave off dreaded jet lag and arrive at our holiday destination ready to explore and enjoy our new surroundings to the max.

Avoid staying up all night so you sleep on the plane

When you’ve got a long flight ahead, it can be tempting to try and stay up all night with the view that you’ll be so tired on the outgoing flight you’ll sleep through it and wake up feeling ‘fresh as a daisy’ when you arrive at your destination.

In reality however this can be risky as certain factors may result in you ending up more tired than ever through serious lack of sleep. A more sensible tactic is to try and get a good night’s sleep before you embark on the journey.

Try altering your sleep routine prior to the journey

As the NHS advises on its Travel Health page, a few days before you are due to travel, start adjusting your sleep patterns slightly depending on which direction you will be travelling in. For example, if you are travelling to the East, start going to bed and getting up earlier so you are more in-tune with the time of the East. By contrast, if you are going West start going to bed and getting up later.

Break up the journey 

If you have the option you may want to think about breaking up the journey by staying somewhere overnight. A ‘halfway’ stopover will mean your body becomes more adjusted to the time zone and you have to spend less hours in the air in one go.

Avoid drinking alcohol and drink plenty of water

It can be tempting to make the most of in-flight bars and drinks trolleys when on long-haul flights but drinking too much alcohol at altitude can enhance feelings of tiredness meaning you arrive on holiday feeling worse than ever.

Instead, drinking plenty of water will help keep you well hydrated and feeling fresh when you land.

Don’t rely on sleeping pills

Reaching for the sleeping pills to overcome the problem of flying at the most unsociable of hours might sound like an ideal solution to overcoming jet lag. However relying on pills to get some sleep is likely to leave you more fuzzy-headed when you land.

Instead, opt for more natural sleep aids such as lavender and camomile tea to help you get some restful shuteye when flying during the night.

Remain on ‘home’ time for shorter trips

If your visit is relatively short, less than four or five days for example, it might be worthwhile staying on ‘home’ time. Staying within your own time zone and avoiding attempting to adjust to the time of the country you are visiting, will mean when you get back home, you are unlikely to feel as jet lagged.