Jet lag… the only downside of
travelling to exotic, far away places. It can ruin the start of
your trip and completely throw you off when you return home.
Luckily a collection of sleep researchers have come up with helpful
tips of how to beat it.
Whenever you travel to a country
with a different timezone it is more than likely that you will find
yourself wide awake in the middle of the night, and on your return
you can barely stay awake through dinner.
Sleep researchers from multiple institutes have
compiled a list of tips to finally beat jet lag, or at least make
it more tolerable:
Make sure you're well rested
Already being sleep deprived will
only add to the intensity of jet lag. If you regularly fall asleep
within five minutes of lying down, that's a sign of sleep
deprivation (or a sleep disorder), according to the National
Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
To try and combat sleep deprivation
before a big trip our sleep expert Dr Nerina says, "Winding down
properly before getting in to bed is crucial to helping you sleep
better. You are more likely to access efficient deep sleep. Try
reading a book, listen to relaxing music or having a
Adjust your body clock a bit
ahead of your trip
Before arriving in your new time
zone, you can start the adjustment process before you even leave
home, says Christopher Colwell, a professor of psychiatry at
University of California, Los Angeles, who studies circadian
rhythms. Start going to bed and getting up a little later or
earlier, depending which direction you're travelling and that will
give you a head start for when you get there.
Drink plenty of water on the
"The lower oxygen and dry air on
planes can have all sorts of ill effects" explains Joseph
Stromberg, a science journalist in the US "That's why researchers
recommend drinking plenty of water before and during your flight
(and avoiding dehydrating alcoholic and caffeinated beverages),
walking around during flights to improve circulation (and the
amount of oxygen getting to your brain)".
Use light to adjust to the
new time zone
If you're trying to adjust to a new
time zone, get lots of light during daylight hours, especially in
the mornings. Remember that outdoor light is generally better
for retraining your brain, it's brighter than indoor light, even on
a cloudy day. According to Susannah Locke, a science researcher for
neuroscience and genetics you should also limit light exposure near
bedtime, including from computers and televisions.
Dr Nerina agrees, "Natural light
keeps your internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle so let the
light in first thing in the morning. Looking at your smartphone
before bed has negative effects on the quality of your sleep, so
it's best to shut down laptops, mobiles and avoiding emails and
social media at least 90 minutes before bed."