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Jet Lag - 8 Tips to Minimize Its Effects

Whether you are flying for business or pleasure, jet lag can seriously impair your performance and holiday fun for days.

Jet lag occurs when the bodys rhythms are out of sync with your destination time the body operates on a 24-hour cycle, and traveling to a different time zone alters the bodys natural rhythm causing jet lag. The more time zones you cross the worse it can be and traveling east generally has a greater affect on jet lag than traveling west. It is easier on the bodys biorhythms to add a few extra hours to the day, as in traveling west, than reducing the number of hours in a day when traveling east. The speed with which your body can realign itself to your new time zone, adjusting its body rhythm to daylight, darkness, eating and sleeping in the new time zone, affects the length of time you experience jet lag for.

Jet lag can cause any or all of the following symptoms:

Fatigue and lethargy
Swollen hands and feet
Digestive problems
Irritability or anxiety
Lack of concentration
Loss of appetite and nausea

It is often thought that it takes a day to recover for each time zone traveled through this is great news for travellers on a weeks holiday or a business traveller on a three day conference halfway across the world!

So what can you do to minimize the affects of jet lag? The following tips are designed to help you avoid the worst of jet lag and realign your body clock as soon as possible.

1. Drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Water is best but, if you find drinking large amounts of water difficult or just plain boring, fruit juice and herbal teas will do.

2. If you are due to land in the morning at your destination, try to sleep during the flight. Sleeping on board a plane in cramped conditions isnt easy but take off your shoes and try to get comfortable. Take an eye mask and ear plugs with you to help block out cabin distractions and a blow up neck rest should add to your comfort. Even if you are unable to sleep throughout the flight, just try to rest, close your eyes and try to switch off.

3. If you are due to land at night, try to stay awake throughout the flight. Read a book, listen to some music but try to resist sleeping as this will mean you will be unable to sleep destination time and take longer for your body clock to adjust.

4. Set your watch to your destination time as soon as you get on the plane and try to live by it straight away. Try to eat at times appropriate to your destination time not departure time.

5. Some people reduce the impact of time zone changes by gradually adapting their routine by an hour or so a few days before they travel. By getting up an hour earlier or staying up later for a few days prior to departure depending on their destination time.

6. If you arrive in the daytime, try to avoid the temptation to sleep, get outside in the sunshine. Daylight, or any light, is a major factor in resetting your internal clock. If you are exhausted and have to sleep try to limit a nap to one hour set an alarm clock or your mobile phone to wake you.

7. If you arrive at night and dont feel sleepy, try a warm bath and a glass of warm milk a natural sleep inducer.

8. Resist the urge to party all night for the first couple days and get a couple of good nights sleep. This should help you get you adjust your body clock to your destination time and make for a more enjoyable stay.

There is no miracle cure for jet lag, but by following the above tips you should minimize the effects of jet lag at your destination, and dont forget to use the above tips for your return too.



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