There’s nothing quite as frustrating as having jetlag on a dream holiday. It’s even more annoying than these #firstworldproblems all travelling beauties know. But while you may not be able to avoid the long flights, messy time zones and minor stresses associated with jetsetting, you can minimise the health repercussions. Simply follow these 10 steps all the way to your dream destination…
1.Prepare in advance
A long journey (especially one involving a time difference) is going to leave you feeling pretty pooped, but you can reduce the effect by making sure you’re in tip-top shape before you leave. This means getting good sleep, exercising regularly and eating healthily in the lead-up. A couple of days without alcohol won’t hurt either, so keep the farewell drinks to a minimum – remember, you’ll be in cocktail heaven very soon!
Once you get to the airport, resist the urge to plonk down at your departure gate for two hours. Instead, move around as much as possible, doing duty-free shopping and the like. If you stay active, you won’t feel so sluggish when you eventually board. Plus, the energy you’ve spent by moving may help you to nap on the plane.
3.Meditate on take off
If you tend to feel claustrophobic on planes, close your eyes and meditate for 10-15 minutes during take-off. Deep breathing will help you to relax and settle in to your surrounds, and you can also do it before landing to centre yourself.
4.Load up on salad
You might be tempted to eat processed snacks for your journey, but this is a bad idea: the sugar high will leave you feeling rotten in the aftermath. Instead, take healthy snacks on board (think rice cakes, nuts and fresh fruit) and when the meal trolley comes, go for the lightest option. If you have to have a treat, make it a couple of squares of dark chocolate or a small handful of lollies. Try to avoid munching out of boredom: you aren’t moving a lot, so you don’t actually need to eat very much.
I know, it’s not exactly fun to go to the bathroom over and over on planes, but hydration is key to staving off jetlag. Plus, the toilet breaks will give you an excuse to stretch your legs. To save you from having to keep asking for more H2O, take a large bottle on board with you and finish at least one per movie. Coffee and alcohol are no-nos – but if you can’t resist the latter, stick to just one small glass. If you’re craving a hot drink, pack herbal tea sachets in your carry on and ask for hot water.
6.Move some more
It’s not healthy to stay seated for 16 hours straight. Getting up and moving is highly recommended for health reasons – not only to help prevent deep vein thrombosis, but also to improve blood flow and stop you from feeling lethargic. This will be a lot easier if you have an aisle seat, so if you’re able to check in ahead of time and nab one, do!
If you need to get some work done on board, block out some time (say, one hour) to tap away, and then reward yourself with a magazine or movie. As hard as it might be, letting your work life go for a few days every now and then is essential for your wellbeing.
8.Get some sleep
Instead of stressing about needing to sleep, put the emphasis on ‘resting’. Products that contain lavender oils or eucalyptus can help you to wind down, and you can buy tissues and flight cushions with these scents at the airport. Once you get drowsy, block out light and sound with an eye mask and ear plugs.
9. Don’t nap
Getting into a normal sleep routine as early as possible is crucial to feeling happy and healthy on holiday. Once you get to your destination, resist the urge to hit the hay until it’s actually time to sleep.
10. Skip the sleeping tablets
Sleeping pills should be a last resort, as they will stop your body from naturally adjusting to the new time zone and leave you feeling sluggish in the morning. If you can’t sleep, try the meditation from step three or read a couple of chapters from a book until you start to feel drowsy.
Do you have any other good tips for dealing with jetlag?