HOW TO DEAL WITH JET LAG
Jet lag is not fun. Whether you're flying east or west on a long haul flight you're bound to experience some of the symptoms associated with jet lag. Now the last thing I want to experience on a weekender are the affects associated with jet lag, so I am going to share some tips I've learned over my years of travelling which ensure I bounce back whatever time zone I'm in. 1. Before your flight
Know what time to book: The method of knowing what time to book a flight to avoid jet lag is simple. If you are travelling east, book an early morning flight. If you are travelling west, book an evening flight. This method is a flight attendant's secret and will cause less disruption to your sleeping cycle.
Sleep, sleep, sleep: Getting as much sleep prior to your flight is essential. If you start your trip tired, jet lag will make it worse at the other end. Remember you only have a few days on your weekender so start out well rested. Getting as much pre-weekender sleep will make it easier for you to adapt to your new time zone.
2. During your flight
Change your watch: Usually when you get on your flight the captain or flight attendant will notify you of your arrival time for that zone. As soon as you are in the skies flying towards your weekender destination, change your watch to that time zone. This will ensure you suffer less time zone dislocation and reduce the impact of jet lag.
Watch what you eat: Whenever I fly short or long haul, I request a gluten free meal where possible. This is something I learned from my flight attendant days at Virgin Australia. Poor nutrition whilst flying will depress your immune system, make you feel bloated and will increase your susceptibility to jet lag. If you get the mid flight munchies, my best advice is to pack your own nutritional snacks, such as a gluten free muesli bar, nuts and an apple. Also avoid snacks that contain sulphur, such as dried fruit, which will only make you bloat. I highly recommend eating healthily and gluten free whilst flying, it will not only ensure your management of jet lag it will make you feel super fresh upon arrival at your destination.
Watch what you drink: The same goes for drinking. I don't drink coffee (except for the occasional espresso martini) and I rarely drink alcohol on flights as I know the implications it has on my general health and the behaviour I've seen in others in the sky. With that in mind I only drink still water. If you absolutely must have a bubbly or a beer, make sure you drink as much still water as possible to stay hydrated. Also avoid fizzy drinks, these too will also make you feel bloated.
Sleeping aids: I never travel on a weekender without ear plugs and an eye mask. These assist in getting the necessary sleep you require on a flight, especially long haul. If you have trouble sleeping on planes and absolutely need to take sleeping tablets, I would only recommend a mild herbal variety. The inner flight attendant in me knows that I want to be able to function quickly if there is an emergency so I never take sleeping tablets. I am also lucky to be a good sleeper, so that helps.
3. After your flight
Adapt to the local time: One of the most important aspects of travelling I've learned is to adapt to the local time at your destination as soon as you arrive. If you arrive at 5am, no matter how tired you are, stay awake for the entire day and I guarantee you'll have the best nights sleep. The worst thing you can do is succumb to your tiredness and go to sleep - you'll be wide awake and cranky in the middle of the night. The same goes for arriving at your destination in the evening. I recommend unpacking your bag, getting your outfit ready for the next day, having a small bite to eat if you're hungry and going straight to sleep. If you're struggling to sleep, I always find reading a book helps as it relaxes the mind and makes me sleepy. So try and settle into your new time zone as soon as possible as you'll less likely be affected by jet lag.
Get outside: When you reach your weekender destination, get outside and into the fresh air. It will help accustom your body to new time habits quicker.
I'm always interested in learning other tips about dealing with jet lag, so I would love to hear from you if you have some!