Everybody is talking about jetlags after a long distance flight and what the symptoms are. But not a lot of people really know what to do to avoid a jetlag or how to recover from a jetlag. We did some long distance flights and crossing a lot of timezones without really having a jetlag. So we’re happy to give you our tips.
What’s a jetlag?
A jetlag is a temporary sleeping disorder which is caused by a long distance flight when you crossed different timezones. Simply said, your biological clock isn’t in line with the local time.
Example: when you travel from Europe to Australia, there is a time difference of approximately 8 hours. So in Europe they go to sleep and in Australia it’s morning. Your body needs to adjust after traveling from and to Australia (or other region where there is a big difference in timezone).
Some people think it’s the length of the flight that’s causing the jetlag, but actually it’s not. It’s really difference in the local time from your departure location and your destination.
In general, when you travel from West to East (or East to West) you can encounter a jetlag because you’re traveling over timezones. When you travel from North to South or South to North, you’ll probably won’t encounter a jetlag.
Symptoms of a jetlag
The actual symptoms of a jetlag vary from person to person. But mostly one or multiple of the following symptoms can occur:
- Loss of appetite or hunger at strange times
- Mild depression
- Stomach complaints
- Concentration problems
A jetlag can cause one of these (or multiple) symptoms to your body. Some people have a lot of complaints when they have a jetlag while others have almost no complaints. So it really depends.
How to avoid a jetlag
Before you’re traveling to a different timezone, it would be good to avoid a jetlag. It helps your body adapt (easier and more quickly) to the new time.
With the following tips you can avoid a jetlag as much as possible.
1. Think about the local time
Once you’re in the airplane it would be wise to think about the (new) local time you’re traveling to. This means if it’s nighttime at your new locations, try to get some sleep on your flight. Is it lunch time? Try to eat at the correct times.
Pro tip: take a sleeping pill (if it’s applicable). This is the easiest way to avoid a jetlag. A sleeping pill can reset your biological clock.
2. Avoid alcohol
It’s recommended to avoid alcohol the day before and after your flight. And also avoid alcohol during your flight. Alcoholic beverages dehydrate your body.
3. Avoid caffeine
Beverages with caffeine can disorder your sleeping pattern.
4. Wear comfort clothing
If you’re trying to get some sleep on a flight, it’s always nice to wear some comfy clothing.
Tools to avoid a jetlag
Earbuds: Those come in very handy when you try to get some sleep on your flight. There is always some noice on a flight, so we really recommend these.
Sleeping mask: to get used to the new local time, you probably need to get some sleep while it isn’t dark outside. A sleeping mask can help you to find the necessary rest.
Sleeping pill: I would recommend going to your local pharamacy and ask from some sleeping pills or supplements to avoid a jetlag. They’ll know what to recommend. At first i wasn’t a big fan of such an aide. But when I tried it, it really helped!
How to recover from a jetlag
So you’re too late and didn’t read our tips before your left. Now you have a jetlag and want to recover from it as fast as possible. Understood! The following tips can help you to recover from that annoying jetlag!
1. Light meals and drink a lot!
Your body needs to adjust to the new local time. Try to eat as light as possible and drink a lot of water. Try to avoid any caffeine holding beverages or alcohol.
2. Take a powernap if necessary
If you land early in the morning at your destination, you’ll need to be awake for the rest of the day. This is sometimes easier said than done. If necessary (try to avoid but it doens’t harm if you do) take a powernap of 1h. This will help you get throught the rest of the day.
3. Go to bed early
Don’t push yourself to hard during the first days. Try to go to bed early so you can get a good night of sleep.