Our tips on reducing travel fatigue and jet lag
Red eyes, midnight food cravings, zombie like appearance and sleeping patterns. These are just some of the symptoms of joining the jet lag crowd.
It’s one of the biggest health issues today facing frequent travellers. It doesn’t matter why we’re travelling, whether business or for leisure, it matters more of when we travel and to where.
Everyone has an internal body clock, known as the circadian rhythm. As we race against the sun in our carbon fibre birds, we disrupt our natural sleep-wake cycle. In return we’re left with a mixture of unpleasant post-flight feelings, expressed as the term ‘I’m feeling jet lagged.’
What we know to be jet lag, is essentially a group of symptoms associated with our body trying to get “in sync” with a new time zone.
So can we beat it? Unfortunately it’s not something we can fully escape from, however, the medical community has plenty of advice for reducing the effects it has on our body.
If you travel abroad regularly, it’s simply better to be proactive towards jet lag than it is to be reactive. Here are our key tips to be prepared and travel with a greater wellbeing:
1. Prepare for the journey.
Stressing about jet lag won’t help overcome it. Fatigue affects the mind as well as the body, so it’s a good idea to seek advice from a personal doctor in advance. When you hit the ground running in a new time zone, be confident and prepared with the right solutions to counteract any symptoms.
It’s important to be patient with our bodies and take a balanced approach to adjusting into a new time zone. Consider the best strategy in preparation for managing light exposure, getting adequate rest on arrival, and ensuring the body gets food when you need it.
2. Eat well, and stick to water.
Eating can either help or harm the body, depending on when and what we eat. It can be easy to put off food when feeling tired, but remember that our body needs fuel to keep functioning.
Think about the next 12 hours ahead, and what time zone you are entering into. If you’re flying overnight landing into a new day, it may serve best to have a light meal at night and start with a protein-heavy breakfast on landing.
Certain foods can help the body adjust and keep your energy levels stable. Try to avoid heavy sugar and excess alcohol. It may be a relaxing beverage to go to sleep, but it causes dehydration and can disrupt sleeping quality. Plenty of water is the best idea for long journeys.
3. Take a hike, literally.
Going for a run might not sound good if you’re feeling jet lag, but a workout may actually help reset your body clock. Research suggests outdoor exercise can help re-sync the body rhythm.
It’s not just after the flight that counts. Exercise before your travel is good to get the calories burning and reduce travel stress. While onboard the aircraft, remember to stretch often and and walk around the cabin when possible to keep the blood flowing.
4. Sleep on it, just not too long.
One of the best ways to give your body a break is to include a stopover. From Australia heading to Europe this may be booking a night or two in Singapore, or Dubai. A stopover allows a stretch of the legs and a catch up on some needed rest. It also helps the body move a few hours closer to your new timezone.
On arrival, ensure you get adequate rest each night. Simple, yet difficult to do. Even with the right exposure to light, adjustment to a new time zone doesn't happen in a day. It can take on average a full week to fully adjust to a new timezone. There are plenty of good sleep tools and apps to help track and adjust your sleep cycle. British Airways has also created an online Jet Lag Advisor.
5. Travel smart, fly comfortably.
A large chunk of travel fatigue can come from the associated stress of airports, cramped seats and uncomfortable environments. Does this sound like economy class?
That’s why the best journey starts in the seats up the front! Business Class gives you space to work, rest and play. Not to mention lounge access, priority check in and excellence in service and care.
Of course, it’s not for everyone's travel budget, but it can be within reach if you have the right reward points. Credit card points or travel miles can bridge the price gap between economy and business class - if you know how to use your points to fly.
That’s where iFLYflat can help. We help businesses and individuals use reward points to travel in Business Class cheaper.
We hope these tips were useful.
See you at the lounge, or onboard.
- The iFLYflat team