How to Avoid Jet Lag

Visitors from all over the world travel thousands of miles to enjoy a holiday in Phuket, which is the perfect destination to escape the cold winter weather in the west. But the problem with travelling over timezones is dreaded jet lag. Our bodies need time to adjust and in the meantime can cause some unpleasant side effects such as insomnia, fatigue, confusion and even constipation or diarrhoea. This can make the beginning of your holiday a bit of a drag while your body gets used to its new environment. The good news is, there are some things you can do to help minimise the symptoms.

Before Travelling

Change your routine at home before you travel so that you can fit into the new time zone easier. This may not be practical for everyone but if you can shift your schedule an hour each week it will help reduce fatigue upon arrival. If gradually adjusting an hour each week is not possible with work commitments etc, you could try changing your eating and drinking times by an hour each day before you embark on your trip.

Drink fluids

Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your flight to help minimise dehydration. Airplanes tend to have dry cabin air which cause dehydration, another tip is to avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol.

Set Time

When settled on the flight, change your watch to the time of your destination as soon as you can, so you can mentally and physically prepare for the new time zone.

Sleep or Stay Awake

Act like you are already at your destination during travel by sleeping or staying awake depending on the time you have set your watch to. Watch a movie to stay awake or if you need to sleep use earplugs, eye masks and adjust the air-conditioning so you are cool, as it is easier to sleep in cooler temperatures.

If your budget allows, book a more spacious seat in first or business class. With more room you can relax easier. If you are too cramped, your body will produce an adrenalin like substance that allows the blood to flow to your brain which can stop you from sleeping. Plenty of leg room helps prevent this from happening.

Eating Patterns

During travel try and eat according to the time at your destination. Airplane food is generally served at meal times of the time zone you have just left, rather than where you are heading. To make the transition easier you can prepare food for the journey and have light snacks at mealtimes of your destination.

Stay Active

If you arrive during the day, spend as much time as you can outside enjoying the sunshine. The sunlight will help programme your brain to the new time zone. Play in the pool or on the beach or have a walk around outside the hotel and check out the local area. If you must sleep then have a short half an hour nap, if you sleep much more your jet lag will just get worse.

Small Meals

Your digestive system is adjusting as well as your sleep pattern so try and avoid large heavy meals. Eat light meals to allow your body to adapt, this will also help prevent nasty symptoms like constipation and diarrhoea which can dampen your holiday spirits.

Exercise

When you wake up in the morning get the blood flowing with some exercise, it will help you feel more awake so you can enjoy the day ahead. In the evening tire yourself out with exercise a few hours before you plan to go to bed, this will give you enough time for your body to calm down before sleeping.

Breakfast

On the morning after you arrive, have a breakfast rich in protein to help you keep alert during the day. Eggs and meat are a good source of protein.

Hopefully these tips will allow you to get the most out of your holiday and minimise the symptoms of jet lag.

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