Getting jet lag under control


Jetting off on our summer holiday is something many of us look forward to all year.

Two weeks in the sun, enjoying an American city break or cruising around the Caribbean are all amazing experiences but if jet lag strikes it can really put a spanner in the works.

Whilst flights make it easy, and fast, to travel from one side of the world to another, this doesn’t mean your body clock will keep up.

The world is divided into 24 time zones and whilst crossing one or two time zones (from the UK to South Africa) doesn’t usually affect people, crossing 8 time zones (UK to LA) can cause more severe jet lag.

As you travel between these time zones your internal body clock has to adapt to new times of light, darkness and eating. If this doesn’t happen and you simply cannot deal with the changes, jet lag kicks in.

One of the most typical symptoms of jet lag is disturbed sleep and being unable to nod off sleep at the usual times. Other problems you might experience, include:

Diarrhoea and sickness
Excessive sweating
Lack of focus and concentration
Lack of appetite
Irritability and mood swings
Memory loss
Sore muscles

Whilst you can simply put up with these symptoms, some of which can last up to a week or more, we have had a look at how to deal with them head on and prevent anguish and suffering.

During your flight ensure you drink plenty of water and restrict your alcohol and caffeine intake.

When you are on the plan, make sure you get out of your seat at regularly intervals to walk and stretch. Doing exercises like toe raises and shoulder shrugs in your seat can keep the blood flowing.

If you are flying overnight, sleep at the right time for your destination. Using earplugs and an eye mask can help with this.

Change your watch to the time of your destination when you get on the flight.

When you arrive at your destination (holiday or back at home) establish a new routine as soon as possible.

Make sure you eat and sleep for the time zone you are now in and whilst it is tempt, don’t sleep or nap as soon as you get b to your destination, however tired you are. It is much better to keep active until the right time to sleep, as this will reteach your body clock what it needs to do.

Spend some time outside, as the natural light will help your body adjust to a new routine.

Spraying lavender on your pillow or using essential oils can help relax you and promote sleep when that is what you are trying to do.

Drink plenty of water and keep well hydrated.

Avoid drinks that are high in caffeine as well as alcohol as these can dehydrate you and make you feel even worse.

If you are a frequent flyer and suffer with jet lag, speak with your GP about suitable sleeping medication.

Happy holidays and try to keep the jet lag at bay.


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