Coping with the effects of jet lag. Flight taking off.

How to cope with jet lag

Flickr: Andrei Dimofte -

Whether you are a frequent or occasional flier, chances are jet lag will hit you at some stage. Here’s Earth Uncovered’s guide to coping with jet lag.

What is jet lag?

Jet lag is the feeling of tiredness, fatigue and confusion following a long flight. These feelings occur as your body finds it difficult to adjust to a new time zone. The more time zones you cross, the more severe the effects of jet lag are likely to be. It’s important to note, everyone experiences different symptoms and levels of severity when it comes to jet lag.

What are the symptoms of jet lag?

  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Fatigue.
  • Disorientation.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea.
  • Headaches.
  • Sweating.

How to beat jet lag

  1. Adjust your schedule before you fly. Most people struggle with the effects of jet lag, more so when they are travelling from east to west. This is because you often need to stay up longer in order to adjust to your new time zone in the west. Studies have shown taking small steps to adjust your body clock to your destination in the few weeks prior to flying can help in reducing the effects of jet lag.
  2. Try to adjust to your new schedule in flight. As soon as you board the plane, set your watch to your destination time. Whilst flying, try to adjust to your destination time zone by sleeping if it’s night time or staying awake if its day time.
  3. Rest well before you fly. You will naturally be tired from flying. Combined with the effects of jet lag you will probably be shattered. Be sure to have a good nights sleep before you fly.
  4. Drink plenty of fluids (but not alcohol). Headaches, nausea and light-headedness are some of the symptoms of jet lag. Keep hydrated to avoid these symptoms. Don’t drink alcohol as it interferes with your sleeping pattern and may cause a hangover.
  5. Upon arrival adjust to your new time as quickly as possible. A quick power-nap is fine, but if its daylight in your destination country try to stay awake. Staying awake until it’s actually time to sleep will help you adjust much quicker.
  6. Get up and walk during your flight. Keep moving periodically to avoid the effects of fatigue.
  7. Minimise in flight distractions. Simple things like a eye mask or noise cancelling headphones prevent you from being distracted and will help you sleep on the plane.

Symptoms should generally last no longer than three days. If symptoms persist any longer seek medical advice.

For more information on jet lag click here.

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