Jet Lag Tips and Tricks
What is Jet Lag?
Today's modern jets can have you landing before you depart. Your mind may find this confusing but your body is in an even worse state! Lunch is happening in the middle of the night and its dark when we should be awake. Flying too far over over too many time zones will seriously disrupt your body clock, but there are some things you can do to lesson the impact
There seems to be no getting use to long-haul flights, researchers report that flight crews who regularly take long journeys are not protected from the effects of jet lag such as poor and interrupted sleep, mood changes, irritability, stomach problems, and decreased brain power. Fortunately unless you are in the airline business most of us don't fly so often for it to have such a drastic effect.
Fly North South rather than East West
Flying 5 hours north of Perth, Australia will get you to Singapore on the same time zone. Flying 7 hours east of Perth will get you to Auckland, NZ and loose you 4 hours on the way. One won't give you jet lag, the other will.
Take a Stop Over or Two
It used to be that travelling from Europe to Australia took 3 months on a sailing boat, then fast liners took that down to 6 weeks. The first direct flight from
Sydney to London was Qantas' first Kangaroo Route service in 1947 departed Sydney and flew to Darwin, Singapore (overnight), Calcutta, Karachi, Cairo (overnight) and Tripoli, before arriving in London after some 55 hours in the air and over 93 hours in total. It's a fairly safe bet that those 29 passengers and 11 crew didn't have to deal with jet lag!
These days Qantas departs Sydney at 3:30pm in the afternoon and arrives before 6am the next day London time: a total of 23.25 hours with 1.25 hours on the ground at the single stop-over of Singapore. You probably don't need as many stops as they had on that original flight but if you break that long trip at least once if not twice for a couple of nights each time you will greatly reduce the affect of jet lag on you.
East to West is best.
The direction matters too Crossing less that three time zones shouldn't affect most people too badly. Research suggest that the direction of travel also matters with flights to the east bringing more jet lag than flights to the west. So maybe break up your eastward leg with a stop-over to lesson the impact.
Jet Lag tips: On the Flight
Some jetlag is just exhaustion, if you are flying 24hours you need to sleep and some people can't sleep sitting up right or on a plane. Unfortunately most of us can't afford the new business class or first class where full beds are now an option! Instead try to sleep any way you can. I am usually tired when I get on board so that's a start.
Sleeping pills work for some. I find a moderate amount of alcohol will knock me out. I prefer to travel an airline which offers seat back entertainment so I can find a boring film to sleep to or a classical music channel to lull me to sleep.
You will find that long-haul flights the food service is timed to the destination timezone. Over eating is not a good idea but eating something at the time's offered is probably a good idea.
Jet Lag tips: On arrival
Give your body every opportunity to understand what time of the day it is. If you arrive early morning try to spend a lot of the day outside so that the brain can re-adjust to the sun shining!
Having a flight arriving late at night is probably best as you can just go to bed, but if you have a day-time arrival try to stay awake until at least 7 or 8pm - it will make it easier to get into the local time zone.
Finally, don't get too stressed out. On a recent trip I was wide awake at 5am - instead of lying in bed bored, I got up and explored Hanoi in the pre-dawn - it was a fascinating side of the city which I would never have seen if we had finished our trip there instead of flying there first!
Lis Sowerbutts has been traveling since age 7, and has to date visited over 55 countries. She firmly believes in travel for the over-30's and that you are never too late to start traveling
More by this Author
Driving the Nullarbor plain of Australia is one of those things you just have to do once in a life time. Its an accessible adventure, which unlike many other of Australia's iconic drives doesn't require a 4WD - but it...
Quick question: assuming the beach is in Australia, in February, which of the beach goers on the right are most sensibly dressed? Well for my money to the 2 girls, one wearing a headscarf, both with trousers on, who...
You live in the Northern Hemisphere - winter is closing in the dream of beautiful, clean empty Australian beaches beckon. Or maybe the housing market is rubbish, the cost of living is ridiculous and you want to escape...