Holiday time is finally here! It’s time to start packing your suitcase and getting excited for a new adventure. There’s just one problem – the lengthy flight you have to endure first.
Jetlag throws our sleeping patterns into disarray and can make us feel groggy, cranky and sleepy for days or even weeks following the flight. It changes our perception of time and confuses the brain’s internal clock, so of course we are going to feel off-colour afterwards. Some people question whether the holiday is even worth it. Trust us, it is!
Fortunately, there are tips that you can follow to try to reduce the impact jetlag has on you:
- Be prepared. Make sure you have everything you need with you on the flight to make the journey as comfortable as possible. This could be anything from earplugs, a neck pillow, headphones or an eye mask. More importantly, wear comfortable clothes that you can easily sleep in (i.e. avoid tight jeans!)
- Stay hydrated. This will help to prevent headaches and grogginess. It might be a good idea to take your own water bottle so you needn’t constantly rely on flight attendants to bring you water.
- Avoid medicated sleeping tablets. They may seem look a good idea at the time, but in actual fact they are likely to worsen your jetlag and make you feel even more tired when you wake up. Some people also experience the sensation of being hungover or nauseous the next day. Try something natural instead – Valerian and Melatonin tablets are available in pharmacies and have proven to be effective without any nasty side effects!
- Turn down the brightness on your screens. If you are watching an in-flight movie, turn down the brightness at least one hour before you want to sleep. Bright screens reduce your melatonin levels and can keep you awake for longer.
- Walk around as much as possible. Obviously there is limited space to move on an aeroplane, but even walking down the aisles a couple of times during the flight will be beneficial. Doing this will get your blood pumping and prevent your legs and feet from swelling so that your sleep is not disturbed by pain or discomfort.
- Turn your clock to the local time of your destination. That way you will know what time it is in your final destination, and can gradually adjust by keeping awake or falling asleep as appropriate to local time.
- Exercise. When you arrive, try to fit some light exercise in (particularly during the afternoon) to make your body tired and ready for sleep by evening.
- Nap. On arrival, it is ideal to stay awake until local bed time. However, if you are struggling to keep awake in your new destination, indulge yourself in a short nap. Try to nap as early in the day as possible, and make sure you don’t sleep for more than an hour.
Sometimes there is no avoiding the inconvenience that is jetlag. But follow these simple tips and you can start getting prepared for the adventure of a lifetime, exhaustion-free! Happy traveling, and as always, sleep healthy!