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How to Overcome Jetlag

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How to Overcome Jetlag

There are a number of simple steps that travellers can take to minimise the worst effects of jet lag.

As soon as you are settled on the plane, adjust your watch to match the new time zone and start to try to think on the daily schedule of your destination.

By far the best way to get through the minor stresses and discomforts of a long flight is to get plenty of rest. Blindfold masks, neck rests and earplugs can all help. Kick off your shoes although if your feet are likely to swell, make sure your shoes are a type you can fit back on at the end of the flight. Although sleeping is good, resist the temptation to take sleeping pills to make certain of rest. This causes near-comatose immobility, and little or no movement increases the chance of blood clots.

Drink water and lots of it because coffee dehydrates, and tea also contains tannin, especially when poured from a cool airline teapot. Or­ange squash is also an abrasive drink, especially for people not accustomed to it. Alcohol has an increased effect in the rarefied atmosphere of a pressurised plane and aggravates both dehy­dration and the swelling of limbs and feet. A good hangover might mask the effects of jet lag but without making it in any sense better. The water in the toilets is not usually treated, but there is usually a dispenser just outside the toilet door: asking the stewards to bring water to your seat usually results in a small plastic beaker that contains a bit of water with a lot of ice. They seem to be strangely reluctant to bring a litre bottle of mineral water and leave it for you to drink at will, but this is the answer. Insist upon it.

When not otherwise engaged by being asleep or drinking water, take exercise. Walk about, stretch, and wriggle your toes. Get off the plane at stopovers and take a walk. Seize the chance of a shower if available during stopovers, or if available in First Class. A shower is not only refreshing but it also im­proves circulation.

When flying west, you are lengthening your day, so it is best to avoid sleeping on the plane; this will increase your chances of a decent night's sleep once you arrive. The op­posite applies when flying east, especially overnight, so eat as lit­tle as possible and try to get as much sleep as possible.Taking medication to fight jet lag is a controversial issue. Conventional sleeping tablets are not recommended while trav­elling for the reasons shown above, but they can help restore sleep patterns on arrival.

Various homeopathic remedies are recommended for jet lag's various symptoms. Arnica is recommended for sleeplessness, restlessness, mental strain and shock. Bellis Perennis, extracted from the common daisy, is suggested to alleviate venous conges­tion due to mechanical causes and waking mid-sleep. Chamomilla is prescribed to alleviate emotional and mental stress, sleeplessness, impatience, intolerance and disorientation while Ipecacuanha is thought to help minimise the effects of dehydration.

To revitalise after a long flight, a long soak in a hot bath tanged with the aroma of grape­fruit oil works wonders.

Many people use Melatonin, which is the seratonin that tells the body's Circadian Rhythm that it's time for bed. A 3 mg tablet taken on the plane makes it much easier to go to sleep, and Melatonin, which influences the body's hormones, can be used in the same way as a sleeping pill to reset sleep pat­terns to a new time zone without the residual doziness.


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