8 scientific hacks for beating jet lag
Let’s be honest, jet lag isn’t one of the most glamorous parts of travel. But it’s possible to outsmart it with the help of science 👩🔬 Take on these eight tips and you’ll land like a champ on the other side of the tarmac 👊
1. Prep your body clock
A few days before your trip, gradually shift your morning alarm, mealtimes and bedtime closer to your destination time. It’s going to be tough, but according to scientists, jet lag worsens the more time zones you cross, or if you’re heading east, because you’re chewing up time.
If you’re flying eastward, you need to shift your body clock forward in time. If you’re flying westward, you’re adding hours, so delay time.
2. Grab a melatonin prescription
Another trick is melatonin.
Melatonin is the snooze-promoting hormone made by our brain and triggered by darkness.
When flying eastward, take the supplement about 20 minutes before the new time zone’s bedtime. You can also take it en route 💤
3. Book a better sleep
If you can afford it, luxe it up with business class or with a carrier with more leg room.
Other tips for a comfier mid-flight sleep include avoiding the middle seat and packing your light-blocking eye mask and sound-blocking earplugs. Also try to avoid snoozing on the plane if it’s not sleep time at your destination.
4. Stay hydrated
We all know this one, but we don’t all do it.
Skip the alcohol, caffeine and energy drinks during your flight 😱 They can cause sleep problems and dehydration, which make jet lag worse. Drink water instead.
5. Eat light
Did you know your gut has a cycle too? True story! If your gut doesn’t know it’s in a new time zone in Bali, for example, it can mess with your digestion, causing ‘gut-lag’ and even diarrhoea and constipation.
Pass on the heavy, fatty foods and other temptations that give your tummy the blues. Take our word for it and order the salad.
6. Sun power
According to the experts, basking in the sun at your destination is one of the best ways to re-align your body clock. When sunlight enters our eyes, it sets our internal body clock to ‘wake mode’. Easy!
If you’re travelling eastward, get outdoors in the morning rays, but avoid the evening light. When travelling west, you want to do the opposite. And if you do soak up the sun’s rays, don’t forget to slip, slop, slap!
7. Switch your bedtime
No matter how tired or wired you are, hit the sack at a reasonable hour in your new time zone. Adjust your watch or phone and reset the morning alarm too.
Feel too knackered to stay up? Activities and exercise such as a walking or shopping can help keep you entertained and awake 😃
8. Herbal helpers
Using herbs and spices to ease jet lag symptoms has a long history and is backed by research.
You can use ginger to help reduce nausea, lavender oil and valerian to help promote sleep and if you’ve got brain fog, peppermint and lime essential oils are fab for alertness. Pack a goodie bag and make your own concoction.
There’s also a science-backed app called Timeshifter which can help you settle into a new routine both at your destination and before you leave home. Thanks, science!