Don’t let an out-of-sync sleep schedule ruin your holiday. Learn how to beat jet lag and go on as normal.
Jet lag can take days off of your holiday, as your out-of-sync body clock wants you to sleep during the day and stay up at night. In fact, it takes approximately a day for every time zone that you cross to recover.
Aside from an odd sleeping pattern, jet lag can also reduce your memory function and communication skills, while studied have found that your decision-making ability is reduced by up to 50%.
As a tourist, this means that you might forget what your tour guide just said, or hop on the wrong bus. However, for business travellers, a bad case of jet lag could make you miss an important meeting or bring a deal crashing down.
While jet lag is unavoidable, there are ways that you can plan ahead, limit the damage caused by a long-haul flight and beat jet lag before it beats you.
How to beat jet lag and get your trip back on track
In order to minimise the damage that a flight causes to your body clock, it’s important to get a head start.
A few days before you travel, you should begin altering your schedule to get your body ready for the new time zone. Start by waking up and sleeping 30 minutes earlier or later each night, depending on your destination’s time zone. While it might not be practical to shift your schedule by five hours before you go, even a change of a few hours will prepare you somewhat.
Your best bet is to book a night flight, so you can get some sleep on the plane and attempt to continue following the sleep schedule that you’ve set yourself. If not, try to keep active while in the air. Taking regular walks down the aisles will help to keep your energy levels up for when you land.
Once you have your feet on the ground again, try to get your sleep schedule in order immediately. If you land at night, go to bed at your regular time (even if you’re not feeling tired) and try to get the same number of hours of sleep that you normally would. Likewise, if you land during the day, stay awake until the time that you would normally go to bed, no matter how tired you feel.
If you let jet lag dictate your sleep schedule, it will. No matter how bad you feel, the best way to beat jet lag is to keep going as normal.