How to beat jet lag

Keep jet lag at a bay
Image courtesy: ©Phil Weymouth/Lonely Planet

Any long journey can be stressful and exhausting, with sleep loss, physical discomfort and disruption to eating and drinking patterns. On top of this, you are surrounded by strangers, some of whom may be unwell and passing on their germs.

The key to planning a long-haul journey is to keep these factors to a minimum, and to travel with as much comfort, convenience and lack of disruption as is practical or affordable: sometimes it is very hard to achieve the right balance!

Then there’s the impact of crossing time zones rapidly, which causes fatigue and sleep disruption in an entirely different way. Correctly timed exposure to daylight or bright light can help you adjust faster to your new time zone. Melatonin has also been shown to help, with a small dose taken at bedtime.

It’s perfectly reasonable to talk to your doctor about using short-acting sleeping pills to reduce sleep loss: you can use them to initiate sleep at a normal bedtime. There are also newer prescription medicines (such as modafinil) that can improve alertness. Medicines don’t change the pace of adjustment to a new time zone, but will at least help reduce fatigue and sleep loss.

Also Read: Your pre-departure checklist

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More tips to beat jet lag:

Keep moving- Walk around the airport and terminals as much as possible, get your blood circulating.

Rest when required- If you have long wait hours before the connecting flight, find a quiet place to take a quick nap, if that’s what your body demands.

Kids provide perspective- Travel with kids. It makes jet lag and non-jet lag indistinguishable.

This excerpt has been taken from Lonely Planet’s Best Ever Travel Tips.