Lifestyle

9 Proven Ways to Cure Jet Lag

9 ways to cure jet lag and help your body back on the road after a disorienting long-haul flight

“Souls can’t move that quickly, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.”

William Gibson

To ensure your soul makes it to the hotel in time to enjoy your holiday, follow these tips.

If like me, you love travelling, curiosity leads you to far away places. I can’t wait for my next adventure and I’m always so excited to get there. Until it hits me, in the first 24 hours the jet lag is there and is real!

But, what is jet lag?

Jet lag is caused by disruption to our body’s “circadian rhythm”, which is a 24-hour cycle responsible for daily physical, mental and behavioural changes. The cycle is influenced by our exposure to daylight. (No worries, I learned about circadian rhythm too while writing this). 

What are the effects?

Symptoms include: insomnia, drowsiness, muscle aches, irritability and difficulty concentrating. We all know it’s awful!
It seems like 96% of people have suffered from jet lag after travelling on long distance flights. And travelling East causes worse jet lag than travelling West. Also, crossing 7-12 time zones will result in the most severe jet lag (ouch!).

So here are 9 practical ways to help your body back on the road after a disorienting long-haul flight.

1 – SPEND THE DAY OUTSIDE

Exposure to daylight is a powerful way of regulating your biological clock. Aim to be outside between 8 AM and 9 AM.

Green trees lane
Cycling through the Amsterdamse Bos
2 – STAY ACTIVE

Exercise in the early morning or late afternoon will revitalise you and help reset your body clock. Avoid exercising too close to bedtime as this can cause further disruption.

Pro Tip: these resistance bands are weightless to pack and you can use them anywhere, even if there isn’t a gym. You won’t get that booty you want by sitting on it!

3 – WEAR SAD LIGHT GLASSES

Specialised glasses, which emit a soft green light into your eyes help to regulate your 24 hour body clock.

I did some research on these special glasses. They are great for jet lag but they are also excelent to trat a number of other sleeping and focus problems. Worth checking them!

4 – NAP FOR UP TO 20 MINUTES

This one is my personal favourite! A minimum four hour sleep at night is recommended to “anchor” you – with additional naps helping you reach your regular daily sleep requirement.

Girl sleeping on sofa hugging a pillow
Applying this tip as soon as landed in Lanzarote.
5 – INVEST IN EAR PLUGS AND AN EYE MASK

Cut on noise and light distractions. Getting a night of quality sleep is crucial to re-set your internal clock.

6 – CHOOSE A NATURAL TEA

A natural brew of Yerba Mate, ginkgo biloba or ginseng can recharge your body and mind in the morning. Chamomile, lavender and valerian may help you nod off in the evening. It’s always a good time for a cuppa!

The best tea there is, after living in the U.K., I can say is Fortnum & Mason.

7 – TAKE A COLD SHOWER IN THE EVENING AND A WARM ONE IN THE MORNING

The release of melatonin, the sleep-regulation hormone, can be triggered by temperature changes in the body.

Warm baths are also valid!
8 – AVOID ALCOHOL AND COFFEE BEFORE BED

Both of these are stimulants and will introduce more disruption to your already-confused system.

9 – IF YOU’RE ONLY AWAY FOR A DAY OR TWO – DO NOTHING 🤷

Another one of my favourite tips. On short trips, maintain mealtimes and light exposure that correspond with the time of day back home. This prevents an unnecessary yo-yo effect when you travel back and forth.

strawberry popcycle on pool side
Just chill…

Now you know. Next time you travel long-haul, try any of these and make the first days of your trip as enjoyable as the last!

Sources
  • National Sleep Foundation. Jet lag and sleep. sleepfoundation.org
  • Sleep Health Foundation. Ten tips to help combat jet lag. sleephealthfoundation.org.au
  • NHS. Jet lag. nhs.uk
  • Aschwanden, C. Jet lag is tougher when travelling east, but precautions can ease its effects. washingtonpost.com
  • Conde Nast traveler. 9 must-try jet lag remedies cntraveler.com
  • Wells, G. 6 ways to curb jet lag and travel fatigue. entrepreneur.com
  • Rash, C. Perceptual and cognitive effects due to operational factors. Usaarl.army.mil
  • Gibson, W. Pattern recognition. williamgibsonbooks.com

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