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How to Beat Jet Lag

There’s no two ways about it: jet lag is a pain. As your body adjusts to drastically different time zones, you can feel exhausted, dizzy, dehydrated and headachey, plus we’ve all had that horrible ‘I’m on a boat’ feeling before. It can ruin the start of your trip and make returning to work pretty hellish; it’s enough to put even the most stoic traveller off visiting Australia, New Zealand, the Americas and Asia. And while anyone who frequently travels long-haul will tell you there’s no cure, they will admit to there being some pretty good coping mechanisms out there.

We chatted to some of our most seasoned office jet-setters to get their top tips on how to beat this dreaded travel condition. Not all of these opinions and ideas will work for everyone, but if just one helps you a bit, then our mission is complete. Here’s what we came up with:

Adjust your watch

WHO? Becky Greaves
LATEST LONG-HAUL DESTINATION: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (GMT+11)
SHE SAYS: “Change your watch to the time of your destination when you board the plane and try and sleep accordingly. Works wonders.”

Lay off the booze

WHO? Jay Jeffrey
HE SAYS: “I don’t tend to get jet lag. I never drink alcohol on flights; always stay awake on the outbound flight and sleep on the inbound flight regardless of time of day. That seems to work for me!”

Lap up that H20

WHO? Liz Cairns
SHE SAYS: “Oh I hate jet lag.  I do seem to have a process nailed though, which is really dull: drink LOADS of water on the flight, switch your watch over to the time of where you are going as soon as you get on the plane (not before otherwise I’ll end up getting confused and miss my flight!) and never EVER refer to the time in the UK while you are away. As soon as I hear it’s 3am at home I am instantly tired.”

Can’t sleep? Try a sleeping aid

WHO? Dominique Kotsias
LATEST LONG-HAUL DESTINATION: Miami, USA (GMT-5) and Vancouver, Canada (GMT-8)
SHE SAYS: “I use melatonin tablets when I travel from North America. They are what your body produces to help you sleep, so it feels like a natural sleeping aid. The trick is to take them for a few days after you land to regulate your sleeping and then you’ll be right as rain with no foggy head the next day!”

Stay awake when heading west

WHO? Suzy Faulkner
SHE SAYS: “When you’re going west (either to your destination or home) then stay up as long as possible; set your watch to the time of the place you’re going to and work off that time.”

Keep active and avoid napping

WHO? Alexandra Cronin
LATEST LONG-HAUL DESTINATION: Cairns, Queensland, Australia (GMT+10)
SHE SAYS: “Try to keep active and do arm, leg and neck exercises when you’re flying – this’ll help with any DVT concerns too. Also, try and get into the sleeping patterns of your destination during the plane journey, or even a few days in advance if your schedule permits. When you reach your destination, stay awake till 8pm at the earliest and don’t nap before. If you must have a kip, keep it to a maximum of 20-30 minutes. Any longer and you’ll go into a deep sleep and will wake up feeling groggier than you were before!”

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Written by Alexandra Cronin (Gregg)

Once a roving local news reporter and now a travel-obsessed writer/sub, I'm head-over-heels for nature, wildlife and the ocean. When I'm not getting up close to animals and sea creatures, I'm seeking out the sets of my favourite TV shows around the world. 

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