If you’ve experienced long distance travel, then you’ll know that jet lag isn’t much fun. In this blog post, I’m sharing 5 jet lag tips that have served me well.
Occurring when you experience rapid east-west or west-east travel on a high speed jet, jet lag disrupts your sleep-wake patterns leaving you feeling tired, drowsy and disoriented. It may also play havoc with your skin. Jet lag can last several days until you become fully adjusted to the new time zone. A recovery period of one day per time zone crossed is a suggested guideline. On my current trip, with a time change of 17 hours, it means that I won’t even have a chance to recover before I have to step back on the plane to fly home!
Here are my top 5 jet lag tips, regardless of your destination:
- Take Melatonin. An analysis of ten trials found that melatonin decreased jet lag from flights crossing five or more time zones. Doses between 0.5 and 5 mg taken close to the target bedtime at the destination (10pm to midnight), were found to be similarly effective, except that people fell asleep faster and slept better after taking 5mg than 0.5mg. The benefit was found to be greater, the more time zones crossed and for eastward flights.
Melatonin is safe when taken for occasional short term use. However, caution is advised if you have epilepsy or take warfarin. As with any medicine, check with your physician or pharmacist if you’re not certain that melatonin is appropriate for you. Melatonin is available in a wide range of doses and formats – capsules, pills, sublingual (under the tongue) tablets and dissolving strips. I’m a big fan of chocolate flavored strips which melt on your tongue. Results will vary amongst individuals but I seem to have had good success by taking melatonin in transit and for about 3 days post travel both to and from my destination.
- Stay Awake. I get how tempting it may be to go straight to bed after a 12 hour+ flight. Truth is, it’s the worst thing you can do. Try and stay awake until it’s bedtime at your destination. And no naps either! Go to sleep in your new time zone’s normal bedtime hours and you’ll adjust quicker and better fend off jet lag. A good tip is to adjust your watch to your new time zone prior to takeoff. This one little step means that you are already adjusting to your new time zone. Of all the jet lag tips listed in this post, this one is non-negotiable!
- Hydrate. Airplanes maintain humidity as low as 20 per cent onboard and recirculate air throughout the cabin. Considering that the average comfortable humidity for most of us is between 40 – 70 percent, it’s not surprising that flying can be dehydrating to the skin. Studies have found that dehydration can worsen the physical symptoms of jet lag. Not only that, dry air draws moisture from wherever it can, including your skin. Dry skin becomes drier. Oily skin has an increased chance of breakouts because it will produce extra oil to compensate for the dryness. Slather on the moisturizer (and the lip balm) and drink lots of water to help fight back as best you can.
- Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol. Who doesn’t like a celebratory glass of wine at the start to the holiday? Yet, alcohol will dehydrate your body even more. Caffeine won’t necessarily dehydrate you, but it is a diuretic, which can have a dehydrating effect. The same applies to salt, which also causes dehydration. All may contribute to the symptoms of jet lag.
- Exfoliate. Flaking dry skin is often a result of the dehydration that you suffer on the plane. Cleansing with an exfoliating cleanser like AHA-Mazing Clean Exfoliating Cleansing Gel gently removes flaking skin leaving smoothness behind. My legs and arms gets the same treatment with Bamboo Lemongrass Foaming Body Polish. Follow up with moisturizer and your jet lagged skin will be well on its way to recovery.
The only good thing about jet lag? Most of the time it means you’re about to start your holiday! Do you have any more jet lag tips to share?