A long-haul flight is the gateway to the exotic holiday of your dreams, but in itself the journey is hardly exotic.
From limited legroom in economy to passengers reclining their seats and the joys of airport queueing, there are many obstacles standing in the way of your vacation.
Finally getting there only to be struck down with a dreaded case of jet lag only sets you back even further.
But there are steps you can take to minimise the effects of jet lag to maximise the enjoyment of your holiday.
Express.co.uk has consulted sleep experts Hastens and Bensons for Beds for their top tips on solving the time zone dilemma once and for all.
Jet lag cure: Sleep experts have shared their top tips on beating the time zone dilemma
How to overcome jet lag in one day:
- Change your sleep routine a few days before your departure. If you are travelling east try to get to bed earlier.
- Establish a new routine. Go to sleep at the correct times for your new time zone.
- Spend a lot of time in daylight. Try to use daylight as much as possible as this has a positive effect on your biological clock.
- Exercise regularly. Exercising helps the body generate sedative substances in the blood and produces a deeper sleep, helping you to wake up feeling rested. However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime as it may make it harder fall asleep when you are not fully relaxed.
Jet lag cure: Long-haul flights mess with your body clock which makes you drowsy
Jet lag is caused by the confusion between your internal body clock and the local time when you travel quickly between two or more time zones
1. Prepare, prepare
Jet lag is caused by the confusion between your internal body clock and the local time, when you travel quickly between two or more time zones. It’s worse when you travel eastwards, because this is when we ‘lose’ time.
Beat jet lag by preparing your body clock for the change. If you’re going east, go to bed and get up an hour earlier for a few days before you travel, to help yourself adjust.
A good night’s sleep the day before you depart can help prevent jet lag. Allow plenty of time for packing your suitcase, so you’re not rushing around at the last minute or going to bed with your mind still racing.
A little light exercise can encourage sleep, relieve travel anxiety and help you overcome jet lag.
Jet lag cure: Change your sleep routine a few days before you fly
2. Board your flight with a plan
Change your watch to the local time at your destination as soon as you step on the plane, to start preparing your brain for the change and reduce jet lag symptoms later on.
If you’re arriving in the afternoon or evening, stay awake on the plane so you’re ready for a local bedtime on landing. Limit caffeine and alcohol while you’re on the flight, and walk around and do some stretching, too.
Morning arrival? Just drinking enough water and getting some sleep are the best ways to cure jet lag. Arm yourself with ear plugs, an eye mask, comfortable clothes and a blanket and keep a bottle of water close by. You’ll have more energy when you arrive, so you can recover faster.
3. Adjust to your new time
Tune into the local time immediately – get outside if it’s daylight and eat, work, socialise and sleep on local time. While it’s tempting to stick to the routine that you’re used to (and your body will fight for it), resist the temptation – it will pay off sooner than you expect.
Just enjoying yourself in your new time zone, rather than stressing about the sleep you’ve lost, will help your body clock adjust. So make the most of your holiday – rest, relax and unwind.
A study recently revealed changing the time you eat can also help to beat jet lag.