Being confined to the cramped space and stuffy recirculated air of an aeroplane for several hours can have a number of detrimental effects on our bodies, leaving us feeling drained and groggy when we eventually reach our destination.
Transform your journey and travel healthy to beat jet lag with these simple and natural tips
1. Stay stress free and plan ahead
Preparing for and enduring a long-haul flight is hard work, so start preparing for your trip in advance.
Organising passports, travel insurance, transfers to the airport, luggage and documentation early on will help avoid the anxiety of cutting your schedule too close and leaving everything to the last minute.
This is especially relevant if you are planning a solo holiday, as you won’t be able to rely on a friend or family member to be organised for you!
2. Keep Moving
During long flights, it is vital to be active and keep moving about to relieve cramped muscles and minimise the threat of deep vein thrombosis.
Walking up and down the aisle when the seatbelt sign is off, and flexing and stretching your legs when sitting, will encourage blood flow around the body and limber up swollen ankles or feet.
3. Spice it Up
It may be only a minor and more temporary nuisance, but many people suffer from motion sickness when travelling.
It has been suggested that taking ginger supplements or ginger ale before you take-off can help prevent the symptoms of nausea and leave you feeling more settled.
4. Dress comfortably
You could be on the plane for a very long time, so restrictive and tight jeans may not be the best option.
Loose fitting clothes and comfortable shoes you can slip on and off will not only be more snug, but won’t impede blood flow around the body; a factor which can contribute to the risk of deep vein thrombosis.
5. Stay hydrated
Cabin air is exceedingly dry and will dehydrate your system, as well as putting you at a higher risk of catching a cold or infection.
Drink plenty of fluids and eat snacks with high-water content such as peppers, cucumber and apples. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, as these can exacerbate dehydration.
If you’re a frequent flyer, you may have come across a supplement called melatonin to avoid jet lag. A naturally produced hormone that is vital to the human body’s sleep vs. awake operation, melatonin supplements are considered fairly gentle, but as always, must not be used as a miracle cure and must be taken according to guidelines.
7. Bring your own pillow
Sitting on a plane for an extended period can be extremely uncomfortable and make it difficult to get to sleep, so packing a small travel pillow in your hand-luggage will prevent extra discomfort and ensure you get your forty winks as and when needed.
8. Travel lightly
Checked baggage fees have rocketed, encouraging many people to jam-pack their cabin bags. The extra weight you lug around before you board the plane can cause an early onset of the imminent aching muscles on top of heightened stress levels before your flight even takes off!
What’s more, anything stowed under your seat will just leave you feeling more cramped and is taking up valuable space where you could stretch out your legs.
9. Body Clock
If your flight crosses multiple time zones, it is inevitable that your internal body clock will be disrupted, so it is important to reduce the effects of jet lag as much as possible. If you start to drift off, go with it.
Conversely, when you arrive to your destination, try to adapt to the local time zone as best you can and resist the urge to sleep or eat meals at the wrong time of day. If you arrive during the day, going for a stroll outside will help you adapt more easily and the natural light will encourage your body to acclimatise.
Likewise, if you arrive in the evening or night, adopt the local bedtime and try to go to sleep.
10. Eat Well.
The meals offered by airlines are usually loaded with sugar and starch and can cause you to feel bloated and sluggish.
Bring your own healthy snacks which will give you an energy boost such as dried fruits, nuts and seeds – minus the additives and preservatives of the processed meals onboard.
Whether you are a first-time or a frequent flyer, by replacing the often counter-productive and harmful go-to solutions of sleeping pills and alcohol with these healthy tips, you will have the tools you need to beat jet lag naturally.