How to avoid jetlag
On the plane
• Adjust your watch as soon as you get on the plane. And start thinking in that time.
• To sleep or not to sleep? How much sleep you should try for will depend on whether its an overnight or daytime flight, and whether you are flying east or west. If it’s a daytime flight, and you are flying west, you will have to stay up longer than usual when you arrive. So, try and get a little siesta on the plane.
• Flying east? You will be going to bed earlier than usual. So, don’t worry if you don’t get much sleep on the plane – you want to be tired enough on arrival that you fall asleep when it’s time to go to bed.
• To help you sleep on the plane, take an eye mask and earplugs. A few drops of lavender oil can help you relax, too.
• Don’t be afraid to say no to a meal! Even though you are thinking in the new timezone, the meals you receive on the plane will not necessarily fit into that plan. If on an overnight flight, don’t have the ‘breakfast’ they serve a couple of hours before landing – far better to wait for a nice healthy meal when you arrive.
• Keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water, and avoid too much alcohol and caffeine.
When you arrive
• Never, ever have a ‘nap’ on that first day. You’ll feel worse for it and it will disrupt your sleep.
• Don’t be tempted to ‘rest’ on the first day either. Keep yourself busy, but not excessively so.
• Think in the new timezone – don’t be tempted to keep calculating what the time is back home or where you have just been.
• Get some exercise. Go for a walk on arrival, and also at any point that you feel sleepy.
• Force yourself to stay up until a ‘normal’ time.
• Daylight helps to reset your body clock. So, spend time outdoors. If you’re trying to stay awake in the evening, make sure you are somewhere well-lit. Equally, if you’ve flown east and are trying to get to sleep earlier, then use an eye mask if necessary.
• Don’t eat too heavily or drink too much alcohol. As a general rule, protein will help keep you awake (so smoked salmon with scrambled eggs is a perfect breakfast), while carbohydrates will help you to get to sleep (so, have a pasta meal three hours before going to bed).
• Arrived back home? Don’t take a day off – unless you really do have masses of catch-up chores to do, go into work as usual. Yes, even if you’ve caught a ‘red-eye’ overnight flight! You’ll adjust much faster… honest.