What your pilot knows: 5 tips to beat the effects of jet lag

What your pilot knows: 5 tips to beat the effects of jet lag

Whether you’re travelling for business or holidays, changing time zones on a long trip is exhausting. Try these five pilot-approved tips to beat the effects of jet lag that will have you back on your feet before you know it.

Crossing time zones when flying can leave you tired, disoriented and plagued with indigestion. It can be even worse if you’re travelling in an easterly direction, and it’s a lot tougher to adapt to a shorter day than one that is slightly longer.

What your pilot knows: 5 tips to beat the effects of jet lag
What your pilot knows: 5 tips to beat the effects of jet lag

So how can you prepare yourself for jet-setting? Here are five tips to travel with whether you’re going somewhere for work or pleasure.

1. Change the times you eat and sleep

To cope with jet lag, start adapting to your destination’s time zone a few days before departure. That means gradually advancing or delaying meals and bed times so that your biological clock can start adjusting.

  • The greater the difference, the sooner you should start this routine.

2. Sleep well before flying

Avoid staying up late the night before your departure. According to Transport Canada, it’s a mistake to believe that letting yourself get tired will help you sleep better once you’re at your destination. All it will do is exacerbate the effects of jet lag, so be sure to get plenty of rest before your trip.

  • Similarly, if you’re travelling at night, try to sleep during the flight.
  • Avoid caffeine and take earplugs and an eye mask with you.

If you arrive at your destination and still find that jet lag is spoiling your stay, resort to napping. However, try not to oversleep.

  • Twenty-minute naps will give you enough energy for your day without spoiling your night’s sleep. That way, you can make the most of your trip without snoozing it away.

3. Drink lots of water

A simple way to cope with jet lag is to stay hydrated before, during and after the flight.

  • Transport Canada recommends drinking plenty of water, as dehydration can cause headaches. Water is preferable to coffee, juice or soft drinks.
  • You should also avoid alcohol, which contributes to dehydration.

4. Eat lightly on the plane

Eat lightly on the plane, especially if you’re prone to motion sickness.

  • Avoiding salty foods is a good idea as well.

Remember that during the flight, food is served at the regular meal times of your place of departure. So if you’ve already modified your dining schedule to match your destination’s time zone, a big meal on the plane will ruin your efforts.

5. Move around during the flight

Staying still for hours at a time is hard on the body. Boost blood circulation and reduce the effects of jet lag by getting up occasionally and stretching.

  • Even when sitting, move your legs and feet regularly.
  • Take advantage of any stopovers to stretch your legs and walk around a bit.

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