Jet Lag: How to beat it and enjoy your holiday

In Community Blog by Soumaya Hamdi

The struggle is real. Jet lag is a pain for long-distance travellers.

When I travelled with my husband to Korea, it took us both over a week to stop feeling the need to nap during the day. This is a pretty extreme example; the time difference between Seoul and London is 8 hours. Still, it was a week of exploring Korea that we lost and will never get back (sob).

How can you beat jet leg? Is it even possible?

It’s only in the last half century that travelling across time zones has become possible for the everyday traveller. Flying from the UK to Japan in 11 hours may be convenient, but flying eastward through 9 time zones is disorienting for your body clock. Adjusting to eastward travel is also harder than flying west, for the simple reason that when you travel west you gain several hours, which is easier for your body to adapt to.
Having travelled to Asia on a number of occasions I have done some research into what steps can be taken to minimise the draining effects of jet lag.

Top tips:

Before travelling

1. Begin shifting your body clock a few days before you fly.
If your destination is 5 hours ahead, set your watch to the same time a couple of days before you fly out. Get used to planning your day according to that time, especially when it comes to going to sleep for the night. This may not be practical if you are travelling to Australia from Europe, in which case make adjustments as best you can.

2. Download the app ‘Entrain’
This app is designed to help with you with the first tip.

During your flight

3. Drink plenty of water.
4. Avoid sleeping pills – they don’t really help but will make you groggy. Drink a relaxing herbal tea instead, like lavender and chamomile.

At your destination

5. Avoid napping during the day, even if it means you are in bed by 8pm for the first couple of days.
6. Eat foods that encourage the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you to get a good night’s sleep. Some of these are:

Bananas
Oranges
Rice
Oats
Dairy products – like warm milk
Cherry juice

Good luck, and safe travels!