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How to get over jet lag

18th February 2020

Although holidays can be exciting, any frequent flyers will know that jet lag is an unwanted travel companion. Caused by travelling through time zones and upsetting your natural body clock, jet lag can cause a number of symptoms including insomnia, moodiness, fatigue and even stomach upsets and loss of appetite.

How to get over jet lag quickly

Jet lag may not be a life-or-death situation but it can put a dampener on your holiday or make it difficult to re-adjust when you get home. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to get over jet lag quickly.

Loosen your schedule

If you regimentally go to bed at 11pm and wake up at 7am every day then any disruptions to this schedule are going to be felt a lot more than someone with a relaxed sleeping pattern. In the run-up to travelling through time zones, try to loosen up the schedule and allow yourself some variation in waking up and going to bed times. This will make it less noticeable when that schedule is interrupted for your travel plans.

Arrive in daylight

Your body’s circadian rhythm relies almost solely on natural daylight. Your body clock is essentially built to make you sleep during the dark and be awake during the daylight. So even if the time difference is 8 hours, you’ll feel a lot less tempted to give in to tiredness if the sun is shining when you arrive.

Split the trip

If you’re travelling several time zones and the adjustment is quite large, consider building in a one-night stopover. This will give your body a middle ground and extra time to adapt so that the transition is not so abrupt.

Melatonin medication for jet lag

Some people take sleeping tablets on long haul flights to help them to doze off. But the best thing to do is to try and actually adjust your body clock, rather than force sleep upon yourself.

Melatonin is the chemical produced by your brain in line with your sleep-wake cycle, and it’s also available in tablet form. Circadin is prescribed off-label to help with jet lag as it can alter your internal body clock and get you used to your new surroundings.

Avoid the bar

Although a start-of-the-holiday beverage can be tempting, alcohol can cause dehydration and increase tiredness. Pair this with natural jet lag and you’re bound to end up feeling worse! Avoid the alcohol and stay hydrated on water instead.

Change your watch

There’s a lot that can be said for your subconscious and even when you know you’re travelling through time zones, it can do wonders to “trick” yourself into aligning with the new time by changing your watch. Try to do this some time into your flight, perhaps just before you go to sleep.

Fall in line with the new time

So you (and your body clock) know it to be midnight, but you’ve just landed at your destination and the time on the clock says 8am; have some toast and cereal The best way to adjust quickly and avoid the jet lag is to convince yourself that you already have.