Summer is coming, and for many of us, that means one thing – holidays!
If you’re looking forward to a well-earned break and have an exciting long haul trip planned this summer, then don’t let jet lag ruin your holiday. Before you travel, take a look at our top tips, designed to help minimise the symptoms of jet lag – helping you to adapt quickly so you can make the most of your time away.
Understanding jet lag
Jet lag occurs when we travel long across multiple time zones in a short space of time. This disrupts our circadian rhythm – the biological clock that controls when we wake up and fall asleep. Your internal clock gets confused, and it takes time for you to adapt to the new time zones.
Disturbed sleep, confusion, fatigue and upset stomachs are all common symptoms – hardly ideal when you’re trying to enjoy a relaxing break or are heading back to work after a long trip away!
Adjusting your schedule
Adjusting your sleeping schedule before you go on holiday can help to minimise the symptoms of jet lag. If you’re travelling east, this means going to bed earlier. Make this a gradual process, shifting it by 15 – 30 minutes each night for several days before you go.
When travelling west, do the reverse, staying up later for a few days before you travel.
Diet and drinking
Whilst some people try to avoid jet lag by altering their diet before and after flying – there’s little evidence to suggest this works.
However, it’s still a good idea to drink plenty of water, whilst avoiding too much alcohol or caffeine on the plane. At altitude, the effects of alcohol and dehydration are more pronounced, which can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling groggy.
On the plane
‘I’ll just sleep on the plane’ – it’s something that many travelers say they’re going to do, but depending on the time of your flight, sleeping may not be the best option to avoid jet lag. The secret is to try and synchronize to your destination.
As soon as you get on the plane, switch your watches to your destination time zone. The benefits are partly psychological, but you can also use it as a guide to adapt your schedule, and only sleep if it’s night where you’re going.
Unless you’re lucky enough get an exit row seat or you can afford an upgrade, sleeping can be difficult!
Seat selection is really important – if you can, pre-book your seats so they are away from the toilets, and choose a window seat. That way, you can prop a pillow up, and other passengers won’t have to disturb you if they need to get out.
Controlling light and noise with an eye-mask and earplugs will also help you to get some rest.
Coming home – summer sleeping
When you get home after a long trip, getting back into normal sleeping patterns is the best way to recover quickly. Having the right bed and mattress is vital, especially in the summer months – so if yours have seen better days, then consider an upgrade at this time.
Mattress choice comes down to personal preference, and the only way to tell whether you prefer a memory foam mattress that contours to your body or a supportive pocket sprung mattress is to try a few out in store.