Planning for jet lag

Jet lag can ruin the start of a holiday, so it’s best to prepare in advance in order to avoid the worst of the symptoms.

And who better to offer advice on this than the professionals who have to factor in jet lag as part of their jobs? Airline cabin crew, of course.

System chief pilot at US carrier Southwest Airlines R.J. ‘Dutch’ Deutschendorf said learning to avoid jet lag symptoms is drilled into pilots during training.

Chief among the tips Dutch recommends is staying hydrated, but not just with any old drink.

“The number one beverage is water. Soft drinks, sugary juices, or diet sodas will not do nearly as well of a job, so we recommend crews drink as much water as possible, first and foremost,” he told T&L.

Something else he recommends that people avoid when flying is having too much coffee.

“We try to limit the amount of caffeine that a crew member takes in,” Dutch said.

“When you’re a pilot and you do get fatigued, that half a cup of coffee will affect you more. It will keep you more alert, as opposed to somebody who drinks coffee all day long and becomes immune to it.

“Don’t overuse caffeine, but use it as necessary to stay alert.”

But the big no-no is alcohol, because it is twice as intoxicating when you are in the air.

“The effects of the alcohol are about double what they would be at sea level.

“Passengers should be aware of that. It’s going to make you more fatigued and disrupt your rest cycles.”

According to aviation website Pilotfriend, eating well and building up your stamina by focusing on fitness in the weeks before your trip can prepare your body to better withstand the fatigue that follows a long haul flight.

Other tips the site recommends are:

– get a decent night’s sleep before your flight
– get some sleep on the flight
– exercise while on board the plane by stretching, walking about the cabin, and doing fitness exercises in your chair (like squeezing a tennis ball for seven counts and then releasing).


Do you have any tips that help you beat jet lag?

Related articles:
App to beat jetlag
What flying does to you
Best cures for jetlag

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