Yes!!! Looking forward to your far tropical and adventures destination!!! But how to deal with a (big) time difference compared to your home time zone. The jet lag could really be a pain in the ass. Why and where is it coming from? Here some tips and inspirations on how I to get through a jet lag in the best possible way.
What is a Jet Lag?
Jet lag is a temporary sleeping disorder that you develop by flying from one time zone to the other time zone. Your biological clock from home does not match the clock of your new destination.
More people suffer from a jet lag on flights from the West to the East. This is because you then advance in time. For example, if you fly from Amsterdam to Bali Indonesia (flight of 16 hours), the time difference is 6 hours in the summer and 7 hours ahead in the winter. You basically miss a day.
Flights from East to West are generally better to handle for people. Your day will last a bit longer. For example, if you fly from Amsterdam to New York (flight of 9 hours) you would go back 6 hours in time. So it seems like you are only 3 hours ‘further’ while you have been on the plane for 9 hours.
I normally more jet lagged when I arrive back home, doesn’t matter from the East or West. This has to do with the rhyme from work and the feeling being home instead of arriving in a tropical and/or adventures holiday destination.
What are the symptoms of a Jet Lag?
After such a long flight, your biological clock is not the same as the time zone of your destination. This could have a big impact on your body; it varies of course per person. For me as a regular sleeper I can suffer from:
• Fatigue and can’t fall asleep in the evening
• Headache and feeling sleepy and nauseas
• Irritability and concentration problems
• Reduced appetite, dehydration and sometimes stomach complaints
How to minimize your Jet Lag?
Unfortunately, a real healing does not exist, you will always feel something of a jet lag, but fortunately there are a few tricks with which you can reduce the symptoms. See below the things I practice before and during my long flight:
Clear your Mind
Prepare yourself mentally for your flight and holiday. Make sure you have packed all your supplies well in advance (see blog on packing) and have your travel documents ready. This will ensure peace in your head. A few days before your flight, it is good to get enough sleep, so you are fully rested before your departure.
Change your Sleep Rhythm
You can also try to get into the rhythm of your destination. The days before your flight, try to go to bed about 60-90 minutes earlier (going east) or later (going west). This will help to adapt more easily to the time difference of your destination.
Food and Drinks
Try to avoid drinks before and during your flight with caffeine like; coffee, cola, energy drinks and of course alcohol. Caffeine ensures that you will stay awake and can’t sleep and alcohol will dehydrate you. A must do is drinking plenty of water, this helps to stay fresh and hydrated in the plane! Don’t try to eat too much food during you flight. Your body has to work hard to process the food which can make you restless.
Try not to sit during your entire flight, this is bad for your blood circulation and you will become very stiff with swollen ankles as result. Walk around or do some exercises in your chair, go to the bathroom (because you drank too much water anyway) a few times.
Set the Clock to Local Time
I always set my watch and phone immediately to the time of the destination when I get into the plane. Try not to constantly remind yourself of the time at home. I sometimes skip a meal in planes in order to get my sleep and get into the right local rhythm. I always think, the time difference is the same as one night going out till late.
I always bring a small pocket bag in my hand luggage with: an inflatable pillow, earplugs, eye cap, extra socks and very important: melatonin (see below). With these tools I can sleep more easily and get more rest in the plane and be fresher upon arrival. A toothbrush and paste and a pencil become in handy too. I normally cover my whole head with a hoody sweatshirt and neck with a scarf, this way I create my own bed in the plane. It helps that I’m a good sleeper, so I normally wake up when breakfast is served!
Melatonin is often referred to as “The Sleep Hormone”. Melatonin tells your brain that night has fallen and it’s time to sleep and this naturally hormone is produced and released by the pineal gland. Before I want to go to sleep in the plane and even the first days on my arrival (home or holiday); I take 3-5 milligrams. Please check the dosage on the package! In the past I used real sleeping pills, but changed to the natural melatonin, these are less strong and I felt more comfortable. Make sure you have enough sleeping time, when taking the melatonin pills!
Go and Explore
Do not immediately jump into your bed as soon as you arrive in your hotel. Go out and explore; you are on holiday!!! This will give you energy and you forget that you are tired of your flight and jet lag. Of course don’t plan too much, don’t exhaust yourself. Accept it and you will overcome the jet lag faster.
A luxury problem, that is how I call a jet lag; having one means you traveled to a far foreign country, so you should be lucky to be there!!