Do you know this feeling? Full of joy you enter your plane. After many hours in the air you finally arrive at the destination. You tried to rest during the flight, but you did not get any quality sleep. You are tired and exhausted. Time to go to bed. Just one problem, it's morning in a new country and you have the day just in ahead of you. – Welcome jet lag!
Skipping time zones has an effect on: Biorhythm, body temperature, digestion & blood pressure
Already with a time difference of two hours and especially when you fly east (i.e. Australia, New Zealand and Asia) jet lag is often the result. I remember how in 2017 my jet lag hold for 2 weeks after arriving in Auckland, New Zealand. Every morning I was awake at 3am and every noon I was tired and went to sleep.
On flights where you cross time zones your biorhythms get mixed up! The more time zones you pas, – the more stopovers you have, – the worse your jet lag will be. Your body needs half- to a full day of recovery for each time zone you pass.
Why? – Our body is literally a creature of habit! In addition to your sleep-wake rhythm, other functions such as your body temperature, blood pressure and digestion have to get used to the new time zone.
What you can do you will find out with my Top 10 Tips for Avoiding Jet Lag!
Tip 1: Get used to the new time zone already at home
Since your body needs time to get used to the new time zone, you can start this already from your home Country. Especially if you fly east, you will feel the jet lag more than if you fly west.
This is due to the fact that flights to the east shorten the days and our body is less able to cope with this than when the day is extended (towards the west).
Try to adjust your rhythm a few days before departure. If your journey goes east, try to go to sleep one or two hours earlier and wake up one or two hours earlier. If your journey goes west, stay awake longer and get up later.
Pro-Tip: Do you have big problems with jet lag? While booking a flight make sure you don't arrive at your destination in the morning. The day will drag on for every and you run the risk of going to bed early. So it's better to arrive in the afternoon or evening.
Tip 2: Change the time of your watch already in the plane
If you change the time already in the plane, your head will get used to the time at the destination much faster. Since jet lag is also mental, you can stay awake longer in the plane if it is not yet bedtime at the destination.
By the way, many flights respond to the day and night rhythm of the destination. In other words, the windows are darkened according to the target time when it is night there. Even when the sun is still shining.
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Tip 3: Control your sleep-wake rhythm
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Try to sleep less in the night before departure, it is easier to fall asleep in the plane. You can also take melatonin to help you fall asleep.
What is melatonin? – Melatonin is one of the hormones that control the day-night rhythm and is produced in the body from the nerve messenger substance serotonin. How much of this hormone is released depends on the eye. If daylight falls on the retina, melatonin production is inhibited. In darkness, on the other hand, secretion is stimulated. -> Melatonin is available as “supplements” (supplements) to be taken and sprayed on the skin. Since the dosage is very quickly too high, it is better to use the spray to spray on the skin. More information about melatonin can be found here.
At Braineffect you will find the ANTI-JETLAG product*. There are two different pouches in the package: the Sleep and the Awake pills. You take the Sleep pills with a little liquid directly after take-off. As the name suggests, these will help you to fall asleep in a relaxed state.
The Awake pills will help you get used to the time of day in the destination country more quickly. For this purpose you take 2 to 4 tablets in the morning. Alternatively the energy is also available in the form of a bar. At Braineffect you will find the KICKBAR* which does the same as the Awake pills.
Travel-Hack: In some flights some of the back rows are not occupied. It is quite easy to sleep on the plane when you have a whole row. The best way to do this is to ask the stewardess after boarding.
Tip 4: What you eat has an influence on your jet lag!
Right! – Your food also affects the intensity of your jet lag. If you eat carbohydrate-rich food (rice, potatoes, pasta…), it makes you lethargic and tired. This is especially helpful if you are flying east and want to sleep on the plane.
On the other hand, you get more energy and can stay awake longer if you eat light, protein-rich food. (meat, fish, tofu or eggs)
Tip 5: No alcohol and caffeine! Drink water and juices instead.
The air when flying is dry. During the flight, more water is removed from your body than on the ground. Therefore it is important that you drink enough liquid. You can always ask for water during a flight. You do not have to wait for the stewardess to walk through the aisle again. On long distance flights I usually combine my toilet aisle with another cup of water.
Alcohol is poison above the clouds. You may think that a glass of red wine will help you fall asleep, but this effect is only temporary. Alcohol dries out your body even more and makes it even harder to get used to the new time zone later on. The same applies to coffee and black tea. So drink water and juices!
Tip 6: A stopover can also help against jet lag
Especially on long distance flights you may consider to insert a stopover of 2-3 days. Especially flights to Australia and New Zealand can be very long. My flight to Auckland took 34 hours. I would never fly that at one, anymore.
If your budget and time allow, you can also spend a few days in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. In two to three days you can easily explore the city. It is best to just sleep in an AirBnB* or in a hostel to reduce your costs.
This has several advantages:
- A restful night, good food and a bit of exploring and you can take off with new energy. You will see that the time change will be much easier for you afterwards.
- You will also see another destination!
- Often on long distance flights you will spend a few hours at another airport. On my flight to Auckland I spent more than 5 hours waiting in Hong Kong. Wasted time.
▷ Find the cheapest flights (also connecting flights) with the article: “15 Easy Tips to ALWAYS finding the Cheap Flights“
Tip 7: Only go to bed when the locals do!
Especially when you arrive in your new destination, it is important that you adopt to the new daily rhythm. Even if it is very difficult and you would like to go to bed, try to resist the urge. A nap during the day is counterproductive and will even aggravate your jet lag.
If you arrive in the morning and you are really exhausted, give your body 2-3 hours and then get up again! Especially the first night is crucial. It is best to sleep through the first night with exhaustion. This is the fastest way to get your body used to the new time.
Distract yourself until you go to bed. Drink coffee, go out and explore the area. The sun will also help you get used to the new zone. Eat only when the locals would eat properly. If you get hungry before, just eat a little something.
Tip 8: Sunlight inhibits melatonin production
Melatonin is a sleep hormone that causes you to get tired. So if you spend time outside in the sun, it is easier for you not to get tired so quickly. The fresh air is also a balm for your body, which only got dry air during the long flight.
Conversely, it helps you sleep better if you darken your room and use a sleeping mask and earplugs.
Tip 9: Give your body some rest in the first days
Do everything completely relaxed and without stress. A long flight is a strain and if your body also has to get used to the new climate, it takes time. Do not underestimate this and listen to your body. If you feel weak and tired, it's completely okay. You don't have to jump right into the adventure and start a hike right away.
If you have trouble falling asleep, do some exercise and go for a relaxed jog. This will make it easier for you to fall asleep in the evening. But don't overdo it, a healthy mixture of exercise and relaxation is what your body needs now.
Tip 10: Change back before you go home
Everything we talked today is of course valid for your return. You know your body best. Before you go home, start to get used to your time zone at home.
If you fly from west to east, for example from Canada, go to bed earlier and get up earlier. If you are coming from the east, such as Australia, New Zealand or Asia, stay awake longer and get out of bed later in the morning.
If you apply the 10 steps from the article, you can best avoid jet lag.
What experiences do you have with jet lag? Do you have a good tip? Share it with us in the comments!
What should you do next?
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Ciao Daniel 🙂
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