In its most basic form, jet lag is simply the result of your natural body clock, or circadian rhythm, being out of sync with a different time zone. This biological clock not only regulates your sleep patterns; it also affects digestion, body temperature and blood pressure.
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You’ll experience varying degrees of jet lag symptoms each time you cross a time zone in either direction, here are our top tips to combat the drag of jet lag.
- Use a jet lag calculator
Working in conjunction with the UK’s leading sleep expert, Dr. Chris Idzikowski, British Airways have developed an online jet lag guide. By answering a couple of simple questions regarding your recent or planned flights, they can advise you on the best things to do to minimise your jet lag.
- Choose the best flight times
If possible, fly overnight to arrive at your destination in the morning, or during the day to arrive in the evening.
- Lay off the alcohol
Sorry! However tempting it may be to enjoy a couple of beers at the airport, a ‘welcome aboard’ glass of fizz or a mini bottle (or two) of wine with dinner – try to resist! Alcohol dehydrates, leading to headaches and interrupted sleep.
- Avoid caffeine
Caffeine can act as a diuretic (and can therefore lead to dehydration) but the bigger problem is its stimulating effect. Definitely to be avoided on an overnight flight if you want to get some sleep!
- Stay hydrated
Sip water and swap coffee for herbal teas. Staying hydrated will help alleviate many of the symptoms associated with jet lag including sore eyes, dry skin, headaches and indigestion.
- Don’t eat
Research at Harvard University has led to the discovery of a ‘mealtime’ clock. The body’s biological clock can only shift a small amount each day but the mealtime clock can be fooled more easily. A period of fasting for about 12 hours before you want to be awake is enough to engage this new clock, allowing you to adjust to local time more quickly.
- Don’t travel outside of your time zone
But where’s the fun in that?
We hope you find these tips useful – there’s nothing worse than travelling 24 hours for a meeting only to nod off half way through!