Avoiding jetlag

Steven’s wife Peta suffers from jetlag and wants some advice on how to avoid the common effects of flying overseas when they are on their second honeymoon.

Q. Steven

My wife Peta and I are heading overseas in March on a second honeymoon. Peta has suffered from jetlag quite severely in the past, and we really hope that you can offer some advice on how she can avoid the side effects of our long flight. We don’t want to miss a minute of our holiday and any tips which you could give us would be much appreciated.

A. I sympathise with your wife Steven, it can often seem that you need a day to recover for every time zone you cross. Hopefully Peta will find some of the tips below helpful for coping with the long flights and be raring to go once she arrives.

Reduce your flight transfers
Plan your journey so that you are not transferring planes along the way. It may seem like a good idea, and a cheaper option, to change flights as you can take a break during a long journey, but direct flights are better in the long run if you want to avoid jet lag. 

Try to adapt in advance
Before you travel you should try to partially adapt to the destination time zone. For instance, you could start your daily routine one hour before or after you normally do the week before flying. 

Exercise the day before
It can become extremely uncomfortable sitting in a cramped seat for an extended period. Go to the gym the day before you board your flight. Give your legs a good workout, release the chemicals which reduce stress and tire yourself out to help you to be able to sleep on the flight. 

Request a window seat
If possible reserve yourself a window seat as this is the only place where you can rest your head and pillow on a hard surface. It’s impossible on the aisle or in the centre seats.

Keep hydrated
Spending a number of hours breathing refurbished air can be dehydrating, so avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water before and during your flight. Indulging in free wine, beer, coffee and salted peanuts can leave you feeling weary. Keep your skin moisturised by splashing your face and hands every time you go to the bathroom.

Get some sleep
Try to get some sleep during longer flights. Pack an eye mask and ear plugs in your carry-on luggage. Wearing comfortable shoes and loose clothing on your journey will help with circulation and enable you to sleep more comfortably.

As soon as you arrive at your destination, try to adapt to the local schedule by eating the appropriate meals at the right time. Also get out into the sunlight and avoid taking naps during the day.

Written by Andrea