As someone that has travelled on quite a few long haul flights and had to deal with jet lag, I thought I would share how I avoid it. Having just got back from the US, I am still fresh from the flight and full of tips. There is nothing worse than coming home from your holiday and not being able to get back into your normal routine. If you can’t sleep during the night, there is nothing more frustrating either.
- Before You Travel
Depending on your destination, it might be a good idea to change your sleep routine up a little bit. If you are travelling west (North or South America or the Caribbean for example), then try staying up a bit later and getting up slightly earlier. If you are going east (somewhere like the middle east or Asia), try to go to bed earlier and get up earlier. This is easier said than done with little ones, but having them join in the routine will be good too.
When we flew to Thailand, we had a three-night stopover in Dubai. That is probably a little while for most people. But if you can include a stopover, even just for half a day, it can make the world of difference to your sleep pattern and jet lag. We were able to adjust a little bit at a time, rather than a whole jump to a twelve hour time difference.
My last piece of advice for before you travel would be to check the flight times. If it’ possible to have a flight back from the west that is overnight, it helps a lot. If you can then sleep on the flight back, you arrive and it is the morning. Then you are ready and fresh for the day.
- On the Flight
For me, I find that sleeping on the flight back can make such a difference. If I am coming back from America, then it is a must. I have done this with children and have found that they sleep well on planes. It is night time so they will sleep. Then you can sleep and all feel fresh when you arrive.
A lot of people think that you need to have business class flights to be able to sleep on the plane, but you can help the situation. If you struggle to sleep on planes, then you need to get as comfy as possible. Use a blanket and a pillow and recline the seat as much as possible. Some airlines will provide an eye mask to help you to sleep but take your on if you think you’ll need one. Take your shoes off and just relax as much as possible. Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks as these will disturb your sleep. Choose water or a fruit tea on flights, to hydrate you and help you to drift naturally off.
- At Your Destination
When you return home or arrive at your destination, you need to go with the time of day that you arrive. If you land in the morning, don’t spend the day sleeping, even if you feel tired; then you will be up all night! Keep yourself busy and do whatever you can to stay awake! You will quickly get back into a routine in no time.
What are your tips for beating jet lag?