THERE is nothing worse than being jet-lagged on holiday, but there are ways to help minimise the disruption of your body clock.
There are several tricks to help you adjust to a new timezone, but the key factor is the time you are expected to land.
Working with Inspiring Travel , Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy has revealed that booking a flight that arrives in the afternoon is one of the best ways to combat jet lag.
She said: "Jet lag is known to be worse for those travelling east than for those travelling west.
"This is thought to be because when you travel east, bedtime arrives earlier (for example 11pm in Paris is 5pm in Miami), and it's harder to go to sleep any earlier than your usual time.
"One way to combat this is to opt for a flight that arrives in the afternoon, as research has found that when travelling east, jet lag is minimised with afternoon arrivals, compared to early mornings."
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Dr Lee has a number of other tricks for beating jetlag too, from skipping caffeine to keeping hydrated.
Read on to find out more…
Change your bedtime in the days leading up to travel
Dr Lee said: "Change your bedtime in line with the destination’s time zone before you travel.
"So, gradually move your bedtime earlier if you're flying east, and slowly move your bedtime later if you’re flying west."
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Minimise alcohol and caffeine
Dr Lee said: "Both alcohol and caffeine can disrupt your sleep, making jet lag more severe.
“Alcohol suppresses the production of melatonin, disturbing circadian rhythms. It may initially make you feel sleepy, but alcohol is broken down in the body into acetaldehyde, which is a stimulant.”
"Not only that, but “caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant. It induces wakefulness and is often used to fight sleep in those who need to stay awake."
To sleep or not to sleep
Dr Lee said: "If it’s daytime at your destination while in-flight, it’s best to avoid sleeping.
"Otherwise, your body’s internal clock will be out of sync with the time zone of your arrival destination.
"On the other hand, if it’s night time at your destination, then sleeping will help put your circadian cycle in sync."
Studies have found that passengers lose 465ml of water an hour in-flight through the skin and from exhaling. That’s compared with just 125ml/hour normally.
Dr Lee said: “Air passengers are at increased risk of dehydration. The lower cabin pressure relatively lowered oxygen levels, and lowered humidity inside the cabin means that travellers experience increased water loss.
“Being dehydrated has a negative effect on the immune system, and also contributes to feelings of air sickness, nausea, and vomiting.
"Not only that, but being dehydrated can contribute to fatigue and headaches, making jet lag worse."
Use light and darkness to sync your circadian rhythm
"Jet lag is caused by your internal clock being disrupted, partly due to your exposure to changes in light as you move between time zones.
"Natural light has the biggest influence on the circadian rhythm, so this can speed up the process of syncing your internal clock to your destination time zone.
2If you’re travelling east, be sure to expose yourself to as much light as possible when you arrive. However, if you’re flying west, you’ll need to expose yourself to night-time light."
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