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Tips on Avoiding and Reducing Jet Lag

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One of the major side effects of literally travelling around the World, is jet lag. The worst jet lag I ever experienced was when I flew from London, UK to Beijing, China. I was taking part in a charity trek along the Great Wall of China. What journey gave you the worst jet lag?

>>Find out about ‘My Trek on The Great Wall of China<<

What is jet lag?

Jet lag is when you feel incredibly tired, as a result of travelling a long distance. Unfortunately, to travel to exotic places it is necessary to move though multiple time zones. As well as exhaustion, there are other symptoms you may get with jet lag. They are indigestion, bowel problems, a decrease in appetite, and possible memory and concentration issues. But all is not negative, as the symptoms vary from person to person, age, health and stress all play a role. So, if you are lucky and follow the advice below, the side effects could be significantly reduced.

>>How to survive long haul flights<<

Jet lag: The preventative measures

Change the time: If possible, change the clocks in your house and your watch to the destination time a few days before departure. This will hopefully help your internal clock to adjust in advance. The more you adjust before your flight the easier your transition will be.

Be Flexible: A few days before your flight, implement a relaxed schedule. For example, change the times you eat and sleep. If you have a strict schedule it will make it incredibly difficult to change while you are travelling. Give yourself a head start and be flexible a few days before departure. When it is breakfast in your holiday city, eat cereal or toast, even if its 3 or 11 o’clock at night where you live. Give your stomach a heads up on what is to come.

Sleep Sleep Sleep: Get a good night’s sleep before you fly. Don’t add sleep deprivation on top of jet lag. This will increase your jet lag recovery time. A good way to do achieve a good night’s sleep is to book a flight that doesn’t involve waking up at the crack of dawn, so, invest in an evening or night flight.

Stay in One Time Zone: The best method of preventing jet lag is by visiting all the wonderful and exciting destinations in your own time zone or the next time zone across. The more time zones you cross the worse the jet lag might be.

jet lag time zone

Reduce the Effects of Jet lag After Flying

Power nap: If you have more than 10 hours before heading to bed for the night try to take a 20-minute power nap. This will help you, then go outside for some fresh air. Remember to set an alarm to make sure you don’t sleep for too long.

Stay Hydrated: Avoid energy drinks and coffee. These kinds of stimulants will disrupt your sleep patterns in a negative way. It is better to take a power nap or keep busy until night falls. Drink plenty of water to help keep you hydrated, happy and healthy.

Exercise: On the plane and shortly after landing, become active to get your blood flowing and muscles moving. This will make you feel less sluggish and will wake your relaxed body up. If you get sleepy have a rest, then embark on a new activity like walking around your hotel to learn the street layout

Land in the Sun: Book a flight that lands in the day light. The natural light of the sun with its Vitamin D, will make it easier to stay awake, especially when you are really tired. Sun exposure is great for your physical and mental health. It can improve your brain function, bone health and even lower blood pressure. It can also improve your sleep quality, when you do finally ‘hit the hay’.

Avoid the bar: Delay your holiday partying until your body has adjusted to the time zone. Alcohol may derail your progress back to normal bodily functions.

Break up your journey: Spend a few nights in other places along the way. Making your journey a multi city trip, will help your body to catch up as each stop off will be a minor change opposed to one big one.

>>Get more advice with ‘Great Ways to Save Travel Money‘<<

I hope you found this article useful. Happy flying and travels wherever you chose to go. Please share your own tips on dealing with jet lag and the journey that gave you the worst jet lag experience, below in the comments section.

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Helen_Critchley

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I live abroad living my dream of being a Freelance Writer.  With 10 years travel experience I specialise in blogging and creating unique travel itineraries. My favourite countries are the USA and New Zealand because they have so many beautiful and diverse landscapes to explore and exciting attractions to visit.  My travel dream is to complete a road trip across the USA, from the east coast to the west. 

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