How to Win Against Jet Lag

Since many of my friends will be flying to University at about this time (and because I have endless amounts of cool photos of clouds to use), I thought that it would be appropriate to scribble down some tips which I’ve discovered over the years on how to conquer that mighty monster, the fear of seasoned jet-setters and newbie first-flighters alike: jet lag. When I was younger and flew more frequently I used to be totally fine and barely suffered from this at all, popping off to school the next morning at 7.30am after my arrival. However, now that I’m older, I find it a bit harder – perhaps there is a link to age? Or it might be that I am more self-conscious about falling asleep; I find it difficult to catch some shut-eye on a plane with hundreds of other people all squished together. In any case, here are some ideas on how to make long-haul travelling easier.

How to win against jet lag
Yes I took a lot of cloud pictures

1. Sleep well a couple of nights before.

Travelling makes your body tired. Lugging your suitcases everywhere, meandering your way around public transport, it all takes up precious energy. Make sure that you’re not exhausted at the start of your trip, otherwise things might end up a bit pear-shaped.

Taro sleeping
Taro catching some zzz…

2. Don’t stay up all night the night before, packing.

I can’t say that I always manage to follow this to be honest. But hey, it’s the thought that counts! Some say that staying up the night before (if you have a flight early in the morning) works so that you can collapse on the plane and sleep solidly. This has worked for me in the past; however, it is quite risky as it’s a bit of a hit-or-miss theory (and shouldn’t be attempted if you’re driving to the airport).

3. Stay hydrated.

It’s definitely important to drink lots of water when you’re travelling. Headaches are bad things anyway, but when stuck in an enclosed space with lights flickering on and off, children crying (plus adults if they put a particularly emosh episode of Friends on), and turbulence rudely interrupting your naps, then they really suck. Sometimes flights will supply you with a bottle of water in the pocket along with the entertainment guide, in front of your seat. If not, you can pop to the back of the plane to get some extra water from the stewardesses. This is extra good as you can give those legs a stretch in the process!

4. Invest in eyeshades and earplugs

These are your friends. They will block out all unwanted sights and sounds.

How to win against jet lag
Nihao, Hong Kong

5. Once you land, change your watch immediately.

Change your watch as soon as the pilot announces the new local time. This will stop you from realising that it’s dinner time back home, or it’s 4am and you “should be asleep”.

6. Eat meals at correct local times.

Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the right times for your new place. Even if you aren’t really feeling that hungry, even a bite to eat is better than nothing. By doing this you’re helping your body to recognise that there is a new routine.

Caffeine
Otherwise you’ll need a lot of this: caffeine (Japanese sized)

7. On the evening of your arrival, try to go to sleep at a normal time.

If you arrive during the day, stay up for as long as possible if you want your body to adjust quickly. It’s more difficult for your body to adjust when you’re travelling from West to East, so that’s another annoying thing to consider.

How to win against jet lag
One more cloud pic just for good measure…

Hopefully, if you follow these tips, after an early wake up (and visit to Tsukiji market) you’ll be ready to go hard on the sight-seeing, or whatever it may be. If not, load your laptop up with a stock of really good TV shows to binge watch!

がんばってね、

Naomi

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Author: Naomi

Naomi is half English, half Japanese. She studies English Language & Literature at the University of Oxford in the UK. Likes: Jane Austen, skiing and drama. Dislikes: Learning Kanji, mustard and being told that she looks twelve. Twitter: @Naomified @ThinkingJaplish

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