Apart from waking up at 3am each day like I’m ready for an evening out sipping prosecco and downing a caprese salad, I really can’t tell if I’ve been jet-lagged since returning from Europe last Friday.
Reason being: I’ve been battling a lovely lurgy picked up two weeks ago while in Italy. That’s energy zapping in itself.
Before flying home, a number of SY readers were asking me for my tips on how to beat jet lag.
Can I suggest that getting sick shouldn’t be one of them? 😉
Jokes aside, jet lag is the pits … a difficult-to-avoid by-product of travelling long-haul.
As author Elizabeth Gilbert said on her Facebook page last week (while sharing a photo of her jet-lagged self at 3am):
This is what my poor innocent bathroom mirror had to look at this morning, in the cruel, cruel pre-dawn hours. Niiiiiiiiiccccceeeee.
She was pondering the question, why do we travel? Why bother? … (you can read her response here).
I loved every word.
I’ll take the jet lag for every memory that’s now etched in my mind from our three weeks’ away.
Precious time spent with immediate and extended family; laughs and good times with friends; amazing sights, smells and tastes enjoyed with my husband and youngest kid.
But what if you would like to minimise the impact of jet lag on those memories and moments?
There are a number of things you can do to improve things.
This post is very much a crowd-sourcing post. I want to hear your jet-lag busting tips. What works for one person may not work for another. And all ideas are worth trying, yes?
6 tips for beating jet lag
1. Book flights that have you landing in the early evening at your destination. This happened to us by accident – not planning – on our trip. We landed in London about 7pm and made it to the hotel by 9.30pm. This meant we could easily go to sleep on London time. We were exhausted and sleep came very easily. It meant that we got up on London time the next day and were able to put in a full day of sight-seeing. Yes, by Tuesday evening we were struggling to stay awake during our night out at a show but we made it and I think the arrival time played a big part. It was the same coming home. We touched down in Brisbane about 7pm and were home by 8pm.
2. Get as much natural sunlight as you can when you reach your destination. This is not so easy on a cold, wet British summer day, but a little sun did filter through by the afternoon on our first day. We basked in it. Coming home, I couldn’t leave the house on account of said lurgy but I did chase the sun around the house in an attempt to simulate being outside.
3. Avoid alcohol and over-eating while flying. I still had one or two drinks on each flight … so I didn’t really follow my own advice here. I did eat lightly though, helped by pre-ordering a gluten-free meal, which was largely an offering of chicken or fish with vegetables, a side-salad and fruit salad.
4. Keep moving if you find yourself with time to spare between flights in transit. Again, something I only partially followed. On the first leg of our flight from Brisbane to Singapore, I ended up with a migraine (I never get migraines) and vomited out of view of other passengers but still in one of those sick bag thingies. I spent our time in Singapore Airport in a lounge recovering. Mr SY did a few laps of all the shops and fared better for it.
5. Sleep on the flights when you can but don’t stress about it. Plenty of travel sites will give you almost scientific advice as to when you should sleep on a flight, depending on the time and direction you’re flying. I say, remove the stress of this. When you feel your eyelids heading south, hit pause on the movie or bookmark the page in your book and SLEEP. Don’t force it and don’t even track how many hours you’ve slept (or haven’t slept). This will only add to the stress and make it more difficult to sleep.
6. Cross everything for an upgrade. Or vow to save up and fly anything but economy from this flight on. My little brother scored an upgrade on one leg of his flight home. I was lucky enough to be upgraded here. If you fly at peak times, the chances of a free upgrade are up there with winning the lotto – the planes are full. If you are a regular long-haul traveller then you’re probably already an advocate for the pointy end of the plane where you can lie flat and get decent sleep. I salute you.
So, over to you … what works for you to help beat jet lag? Share your ideas in the comments below.
… and here are some more tips from the SY Facebook community …