Tuesday, 10 September 2013

How to avoid jet lag

Kia ora people!

Sorry I haven't posted anything before now, just been settling in. First days have been great so far, but I'll be telling you all about my first week in a couple of days so stay tuned for some amazing pics. Right now, I'm going to let you in on my secret on how to avoid jet lag.

Jet lag, medically referred to as desynchronosis, is a physiological condition which results from alterations to the body's circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance transmeridian (east–west or west–east) travel on a (typically jet) aircraft.
Source: Wikipedia

When you cross many time-zones, you are are in danger of getting jet lag. Drowsiness, headache and uneven sleep rhythm is three of the most common things if you suffer from jet lag. There are people that are "jet-lagged" for days and days and that can ruin your holiday. A two week trip to Australia or L.A. might turn into a ten holiday, because the first days are wasted on this.

New Zealand is currently 11 hours ahead of UK time, so the difference is pretty. Before I left Norway, I read several articles on how to avoid jet lag. Many said that you should start adjusting to your new local time two hours per day, so that means I would have had to started about five days in advance adjusting to local time. Now that's just unpractical. 
Another article claimed that the best way was to stay away from the time you leave until when it's bedtime at your destination. That would mean that if you were taking an evening flight from Europe, you'd have to be awake 40 hours, 24 of those sitting down. In a dark cabin. Good luck. 

Both of those two are impractical and either makes you miss time with family/friends at home or you arrive to your destination feeling (and looking like a train wreck). So I took note of a few things from every article and came up with my own strategy. I arrived in New Zealand well rested and hydrated, good to go. Read on and try it yourself.

Here's what really worked for me
A couple of days before I left I tried to avoid THREE things:

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Big meals/full stomach
Coffee gets you hyped up and alcohol and full stomach makes it hard for you to get a good quality sleep. So by avoiding it two days in advance you ensure that your system is "clean".

When you've started your travels you should focus on three things, in addition to the three things above.
  • Sleep to destination time
  • Try to get as much light as possible
  • Water, water and water
The minute you get on your first flight you should try your best to sleep to the time of your destination. So let's say it's 23:45 in New Zealand, then you try to go to sleep or at least relax your muscle. You probably won't be able to get a full 7-8 hour sleep, but you'll get some.

Our bodies are regulated, amongst other things, greatly by light. Our internal clock adjusts itself to the light around you. So pop you reading light on, open the window blinds.

Water is one of the most important things we humans need. By ensuring you drink water during your flight, you minimize the chance of dehydration and headaches. TIP. try to as much as possible DURING your flight, because when you're in transit you got loads of other things to think about, especially if you're flying with children.

Let's recap
  • Two days before departure: avoid caffeine, alcohol and big meals
  • During your travel: sleep to destination time, find a light source and drink water

Good luck and safe travel!

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Today's song: Life is a highway - Rascal Flatts