Flying and travelling can be tough. It can batter your body and your system like nothing else. A variety of things cause that negative effect on your body, including the general tiredness, air pressure on the plane, lack of oxygen, poor foods and many other things.
And one of the main reasons that flying and travelling can batter your body? You guessed it! The dreaded jet lag.
Jet lag is something that is subject to many theories about how to beat it. Regular travellers have their own individual ways of, if not beating it, minimising its effects. Here are some of the bets methods:
Adjust Your internal Clock
Several days (at least four) before departure, gradually shift your sleeping and eating times to coincide with those at your destination. Once you arrive, adopt the local time for your daily routine immediately. This is the most important aspect of beating jet lag, and the one that can be the most challenging.
This is helped by the light timetables. Ever notice the way flights to the US leave Ireland in the morning? So that you arrive at your destination in the mid-morning or afternoon. Or how the flight back from the US invariably leaves the US late in the evening and arrives in Ireland early morning? The reason is not to help jet lag, but to assist flight scheduling. But arriving in Ireland early morning can help you adjust your body clock. You should try to stay awake all day and go to bed at your normal time that night. On the way home, this should help you settle back to your normal routine quickly.
Hydration Hydration Hydration!
This one is the next most important! We all know that water and hydration is of huge importance to your wellness, in many different ways. And travel and jetlag is one of them.
This can also be tricky and is often overlooked, due to security measures which actually prevent you from bringing water on your carry-on luggage. And of course the cost of water and all other foods once you get inside security clearance.
Try to load up on water before departing. Use that opportunity to drink all your remaining water before it gets taken from you by security! Drink more water before you get on the plane. And then drink at least 250ml of water for every hour you are in the air, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Consuming this amount of water can sometimes be challenging, but it is of huge importance and you should persist.
To help your general hydration, if you wear contact lenses, clean them thoroughly before your flight. Use eye drops in the air, and consider removing your lenses if you nap. Or perhaps just remove them and use your glasses while flying.
Hydrating your skin is also hugely important. And also very difficult to manage. Your skin dries out on flights, which is due to the humidity of the cabin and the dry air.
So you should regularly apply moisturizing lotion and lip balm to keep your skin hydrated.
Avoid Alcohol & Coffee
Cabin air dehydrates passengers, and altitude changes can quicken the effects of alcohol. Not only does alcohol aggravate the lack of hydration that you will already inevitably suffer, but it also affects your system quicker during flights. You risk becoming intoxicated much quicker. The rule of thumb is one drink in the air is the same as two or three on the ground.
Also, for 12 hours before, as well as during, your flight, avoid overeating and caffeine. Although caffeine can help keep you awake longer, it makes you wake up more often once you do fall asleep and so reduces total sleep time. It can also dehydrate your system and thus aggravate the symptoms of travel.
Try to sleep on the plane.
This is especially important when you’re traveling overnight or flying west to east. Travel is extremely tiring, and the more rest your body gets en route the more prepared you’ll be to deal with the stresses of jet lag.
Opt for a window seat and bring enough padding (pillows or something that can act as such) to prop yourself up against the wall.
And what about sleeping pills? As with any medication, be very careful. A pill with a short cycle may be helpful on overnight flights. Make sure, however, that you time the dosage correctly or you may be very groggy when you land. Also, an airplane is not the place to try out a pill for the first time, so only take medications you are already familiar with. If you have an allergic reaction to a sleeping pill on your flight, that will be a disaster for you (and everyone else travelling on the flight).
Beat the Bloat
A lot of people suffer from float after they travel. This is due to be in activity of a long flight, too much salt due to the poor quality food on the aeroplane, and the retention of water and food with your system cannot digest on the flight due.
Once you land, therefore, you should try to get some exercise soon as possible. This could be just a brisk walk, and need not necessarily be the gym. This will also help you get some fresh air, which will minimise the effects of the lack of fresh air throughout the duration of the flight and whilst in the airport.
After arrival, getting a walk and some fresh air will help your body reset its natural time clock to coincide with your new surroundings.
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