How to Beat Jet Lag

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Jet LagTips for Travelling Across Time Zones

Every traveller knows of the dreaded jet lag but what is jet lag and how do you beat it? The term jet lag is sometimes used in instances where it doesn’t apply,  for example when flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town and back over, say, three days. Yes, you might be suffering from exhaustion, but jet lagged? We think not. You can be jet lagged only when you travel by air between different time zones, probably more than three time zones. You won’t suffer from jet lag if you travel directly north to south. However, you will experience jet lag flying from Africa to Australia and back as you travel eastward or westward.

How Do You Know You Are Jet Lagged?

The question remains, how do you know that you are jet lagged? Being sleepy during the day in your new time zone as well as struggling to fall asleep at night are symptoms of jet lag. Other signs are inferior  mental and physical performance, meaning a lack of concentration, constant headaches, irritability and a loss of appetite.

Top Tips to Help You Beat Jet Lag

If you are going on a business trip, we advise you to go for a couple of days so that you have some time to adjust to the time zone. Meetings on the first day of arrival are a definite no-no. Other ways of preventing jet lag include hydration and eating light for a day or two prior to your trip and when you are in the air. During the flight, if you can, try and walk around the cabin and stretch your muscles.

Changing your sleeping patterns a few days before travelling will aid in adjusting your internal body clock to the different time zone; for example, start getting up earlier as well as going to bed earlier if you will be travelling eastward.  If you’re travelling westward you need to get up later and go to bed later. While taking sleeping medication seems ideal on-board, refrain from doing so as you run the risk of rebound insomnia the next night. Rather keep your brain occupied with an interesting book which requires more effort and will ensure quality sleep on-board when you actually get tired.

Should you have not been fortunate enough to plan for your long trip and you are suffering from jet lag, experts say that jet lag remedies include getting exercise and exposure to sunlight after checking in at your hotel. Exercising helps with falling asleep; however, taking that nap right after checking in will make it harder to fall asleep come bedtime.

Overcoming jet lag also includes avoiding alcohol or any drinks high on caffeine which will interfere with your sleep patterns. Rather take advantage of the in-flight hospitality by eating a full meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner as your body will adjust much more quickly this way.

We sure hope these tips will come in handy when travelling between different time zones and that they will make your travels more enjoyable and less jet lagged. Bon voyage!

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