I’m packing up our little place here in Orlando, Florida to get ready (at some point) to head to NYC. The “worst blizzard of all time” has just begun to settle in up north with snow falling since this morning. Our flight along with everyone else’s has been cancelled. Maybe not so much because of the snow – although thats scheduled to dump down later this evening – but because of the crazy winds that are coming through. Fingers crossed we can get out tomorrow!
After New York, Cam is heading straight to Dubai and I’m flying back down under to swap suitcases and exchange clothes, then I’ll be heading back up to Dubai to join him for the month. All of this bouncing had us talking the other night about how well we’ve handled the jet lag thus far. Both of us are used to (as much as you can be!) the jet lag after years of going from one side of the globe to the other weekly, but it always seems to hit you differently when you’re not working! Lucky for us we jumped onto US time like we’d been here for months, lets hope its that easy when we have to adjust another 9 hours difference in Dubai.
I wrote an article for Sassy Australia a few months ago on the top tips and tricks to beating jet lag, here it is below.
Every corner of the globe is so easily accessible these days, so it’s easy to forget that our bodies weren’t made to travel at rapid speeds in small metal tubes from time zone to time zone. Welcome, jet lag.
I’ve spent the better part of seven years with my head in the clouds (literally). I’ve seen, heard and experienced a multitude of jet lag preventions and cures. Here’s a list of common mistakes that travellers make and my tips on how to do things right.
1. ‘Alcohol will help me sleep and get me on the right time zone’
This is the most commonly misconceived concept in jet lag prevention. At altitude, the body absorbs alcohol at a much higher rate, which makes you intoxicated a lot faster. It also dehydrates you at the same rate, which essentially destroys your natural sleep makeup. It may help you fall asleep initially, but you’re more likely to have fragmented sleep and wake up feeling groggy (or hung over!).
2. ‘I’ll take a sleeping tablet to put me on the right time zone’
Sleeping tablets should only ever be taken if they’re prescribed to you by your health professional. Sleep aids should always be used appropriately and you should always consider the following before taking them: total flight time, timing, and knowledge of your body’s reaction. If your flight is eight hours or over, a sleep aid can help you achieve some much needed deep sleep. If it’s under, you run the risk of arriving at your destination under the influence, and this could be embarrassing on so many levels! If you’re considering taking a sleep aid on your next flight, have a trial run at home first.
3. ‘It doesn’t matter where I sit, I can never sleep’
In a perfect world, the good ol’ economy seat would be as luxurious as a first class seat. You’d have all the space in the world without having to put up with your new plane buddy Susie drooling on your shoulder (eww). Like most of us, you might struggle to sleep on an aircraft. But, there are some simple choices you can make to help make your flight a little more comfortable. If you have some spare frequent flyer points, upgrade to Premium Economy. The service is almost exactly the same, but you get a wider seat with more legroom. The recline on the chair is deeper so even if you don’t sleep, you’ll feel more rested. Alternatively, choose a seat located at a bulkhead as these ones have more legroom. Or, try a window seat so you can place your pillow up against the window and you’ll never be woken by people trying to climb over you to get out! Avoid seats near the lavatories and galleys; these are places of constant activity.
4. ‘Watching a movie will help me sleep’
While watching a movie will help you wind down, it might actually do the opposite for your sleep! The blue-spectrum light that’s emitted from the screens can delay sleep. It stimulates the circadian clock that controls our natural rhythm. Take this time to completely switch off; turn off all of your electronic devices about an hour before you plan to sleep (this includes your laptop, tablet and mobile phone). Relax!
Now also keep in mind that jet lag doesn’t really kick in unless you’re crossing over two or more time zones, and is always worse if you’re travelling east rather than west. This is because when we travel east, our body clock has to be advanced and no one copes all that well with jumping into the future!
My biggest tip is to stay hydrated! Drink as much water as you can. Doze when you’re feeling tired; don’t ever force yourself to stay awake. If you can, give yourself 24 hours to settle into your new time zone and do some light exercise – like going for a walk before you sit down to your first big meal.