Jet Lag is also referred to as flight fatigue and is the result of air travel across multiple time zones. Jet Lag is a temporary disorder and symptoms are exhaustion, insomnia, poor sleep quality, concentration loss, mood changes and it can cause stomach issues such as bloating, constipation and diarrhoea and just a general feeling of being run down. Most people that travel on long haul flights will at some point experience some form of jet lag.
Working as cabin crew I have experienced jet lag and fatigue frequently and sometimes on a weekly basis, no the job isn’t all glamour! Working on long haul flights and having short layovers definitely takes its toll on your body, both physically and mentally. I can honestly say before becoming crew I had never experienced such tiredness like it in my life! Over the years I’ve learnt a few tips and tricks on how to look after myself, and reduce my jet lag from flying all around the world all the time.
I wanted to write this blog with all my tips and what I personally do to help with my sleep pattern while travelling both as a passenger and when I’m working flights. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid jet lag, but you can definitely help minimise the affects that it has on you and prepare yourself for your long journey.
Before Your Flight
Booking Your Flight
When booking your flight have a look at all options available and focus on your arrival time. Try and land in the late afternoon or evening if possible, as it means less time for you to wait before you can get a full nights sleep and recharge. If your planning an extremely long flight to somewhere like Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific or to a destination that’s more than a 15 hour flight time away, then maybe consider a stopover. Stopovers a great way to break up a long journey, they can help adjust your body clock, and also it’s another good excuse to explore a new destination!
Day Of Your Flight
The night before you flight go to bed early and get a good nights sleep. The day of your flight and the time leading up to it – drink plenty of water and stay hydrated to prepare your body ready for the flight. Try and eat healthy before your flight such as fruit, vegetables and nutrient rich foods. Plane food isn’t always the healthiest and is saturated in excessive oils and salts, to ensure the food keeps its taste, because low pressure and dry air reduces the sensitivity of your taste buds. Purchase something fresh at the airport to take on with you if your not a fan of plane food.
Jet Leg Calculator
A few days before your flight have a look at Jet Lag Rooster which is a jet lag calculator, there are lots available on the internet, however this is a popular one people tend to use. You input your flight details and it will provide you with tips and a guide on how best to deal with your jet lag, even covering a few days prior to your trip to help you prepare your sleep pattern and body for travelling through various time zones.
Even if your sat in economy choosing the right seat for you can make a huge difference to how well you rest on a flight, if your tall I would always recommend paying extra for the extra leg room seat or opting for an aisle seat, just make sure to tuck your legs in when trolleys are coming past. All airlines have a variety of aircrafts and each one has a different layout configuration, so to choose the best seats in your cabin use Seat Guru which gives you all the information on each seat on the aircraft your flying on, and gives each seat a ranking depending on its legroom, seat size, and distance to the toilet etc.
During Your Flight
Carry On Essentials
When going on a flight always go prepared, especially on long flights as there’s nothing worse than stepping off a plane feeling like you have been dug up. Always take a few essentials with you so that you can freshen up during the flight and prior to landing. A quick freshen up will always make you feel so much more refreshed after a long journey. Here is a list of essentials to take on any long haul flight:
Getting comfortable on a flight is essential to ensuring your as well rested as possible for when you arrive at your destination. Take some ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones to cancel out any noise during the flight especially if you want to get some sleep, also take an eye mask, flight socks and travel neck pillow
it might I would definitely recommend to sleep flight you the flight go quicker definitely fight
If your on a long flight take something comfortable to change into to help you rest better. When sleeping always make sure to put your seatbelt on over the top of your blanket or loose clothes and make sure it’s easily visible, so that if the seatbelt sign goes on cabin crew don’t have to disturb you or wake you to check.
Limit Alcohol, Sugar & Caffeine
to make more of a conscious effort about what you are eating and drinking, this is probably one of the hardest things to stick I’m this, especially when I’m working flight something sugary I’m and
then alcohol caffeine
Most long haul carriers provide snacks during the flight, but I always take some snacks of my own, and if your health conscious take some nutritional snacks. Try and refrain from snacking on sugary and salty snacks all flight, as it will dehydrate you even more. When flying it can really mess with your digestive system and you also become bloated, which sometimes people confuse dehydration and bloating with hunger when actual fact your just thirsty. So take a swig of water instead and see if your still feeling hungry after that.
Staying hydrated is so important when flying, your body can loose up to 2 litres of water during an average 10 hour flight. With humidity levels low, a mix of recycled oxygen, altitude and pressure, flying can really take its toll on your body so make sure to take extra care of yourself.
Take a reusable water bottle on every flight, once through security fill it up at one of the airport refill water stations, or when onboard ask one of the cabin crew if they can fill it for you. Staying hydrated is so important when flying, your body can loose up to 2 litres of water during an average 10 hour flight. With humidity levels low, a mix of recycled oxygen, altitude and pressure, flying can really take its toll on your body so make sure to take extra care of yourself.
If you find you suffer quite badly with jet lag try adding a hydration tablet to your water during the flight to help boost your electrolytes, minerals and vitamins. Dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue, so drink regularly during a flight and mist your face with a face mist or spray water.
Remember to stretch before, during and after the flight. Even if just every time you go to the toilet you do a few stretches before go back to your seat. While your seated there are several leg and foot exercises you can do as well, and remember to stretch after the flight. Have a look online for plenty of exercise tips, many airlines that have inflight entertainment sometimes have a well being section that shows you what stretches you can do in your seat.
After Your Flight
I know I keep saying this but keeping hydrated before flying, during flying and after you land is so important to help with reducing jet lag. When you land ensure you drink plenty of water to top up all of the water you would have lost during the flight. Try and also eat something healthy or some watery fruits such as water melon, strawberries etc as these are great for getting you rehydrated. Coconut water is another great source of nutrients and antioxidants during or after a flight.
For your first night in your destination, it’s absolutely key that you get a good nights rest, as this will help your body to recharge and to help you get into the time zone of your destination. The first few nights can be hard especially if jet lag kicks in, to help get the best nights sleep try and avoid alcohol or caffeine again.
Before bed if possible have a hot bath to help you relax, and limit your light exposure, close the curtains turn down the lights and avoid looking at your phone on bright mode. Drink a Horlicks (malted milk) or camomile tea before bed. Again go prepared before travelling you can take a few camomile teabags with you and you can purchase small sachets of Horlicks too.
Also take some of the following with you such as essential oils, lavender body lotion or a sleep pillow mist and use before bed. I personally always use Lush Sleepy Body Lotion and decant into a small travel pot, and rub into my temples and wrists before going to sleep. I have in the past also decanted some lavender sleep pillow mist into a small spray bottle before and taken it away with me.
I personally use sleeping pills when I go away and normally take one on my first night in a place to ensure I go to sleep and stay asleep until a reasonable time. However sleeping pills aren’t for everyone some people rave about them and other people can’t stand them. I always use Nytol one a night tablets as their the strongest ones they do, however they also have two a night tablets which are less dosage so you could always take just one of them or opt for their herbal range. I would recommend speaking to your pharmacist before travelling and maybe try one a few weeks prior to you travels to make sure you get on ok with them.
Download the Calm App which has a variety of features to help you get to sleep such as breathing exercises, meditation, relaxing music and reads and much more. I personally haven’t got around to using this app yet, but I always see and hear amazing reviews about it. Prior to travelling also purchase a Space Mask these are great to pack, they are self heating eye masks with a light relaxing scent which help you get settled for a good nights sleep. The only thing with the Space Masks is that they are single use which isn’t great for the environment, however if you only use them occasionally and for your first night in a destination it’s not to bad, and they do work really well.
Always set yourself an alarm for the next morning, even if you hit snooze a few times it’s better to get up in the morning of your destinations time zone, and this will avoid you accidentally sleeping all day and messing up your body clock even more.
Travelling east tends to cause more problems than travelling west, because the body clock has to be advanced, which is more difficult for the majority of people than delaying it. Most people have an internal circadian rhythm that is longer than 24 hours, so lengthening a day is less hard than shortening it.
No matter what time you land into your destination, always go by the destinations time! If you land in the morning try and power through the day and stay awake, or if your really craving sleep have a power nap when your arrive, and limit yourself to no more than two hours to have a quick sleep. Make sure to set loads of alarms as when you do this it is normally the hardest sleep to force yourself up from. I normally set 3 alarms and make sure my alarm is on loud so I don’t sleep though.
When having a power nap when you first get up sometimes you can feel worse than what you did before you had the nap, have a shower and drink plenty that will help make you feel better. If you land in the afternoon or evening try and stay awake until at least 9pm, and have a good nights sleep so your ready and refreshed for the next day.
Ultimate Kit To Fight Jet Lag
Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx