Knowing how to avoid jetlag – or at least how to cope with it – is an essential part of travel. That terrible zombie-like state that hits you in the days following a long-haul flight can ruin holidays and make coming home feel like the worst thing ever. Here are some of our best tips for avoiding jetlag and dealing with long-distance travel.
Living in Australia means you either put up with long-haul flights or stay at home. We’re just a long way from most of the rest of the world.
But over the course of all the years we’ve been travelling, Christina and I have tried lots of different ways to or get over jetlag as quickly as possible – even better avoid it completely.
Unfortunately, there’s no one perfect cure for jetlag – possibly because no one really knows why it happens. There’s also no consistency. Jetlag can hit you hard one flight, but not the next.
Some trips Christina has had really bad jetlag while I’ve been fine. Others it’s been the other way round.
These days we’re pretty good at knowing what works for us when it comes to beating one of the worst factors of travel. Here are our top 7 tips for coping with jetlag.
7 tips for how to avoid jetlag
1. Programme your sleep patterns
About a week before you’re due to fly, start changing the times you wake up and go to bed as close to the time zone you’re travelling to as possible. Of course, you won’t be able to sleep through the day – though I’m sure Christina would enjoy the challenge – but going to bed earlier and waking up earlier will help.
It might also help to change your meals and times you eat – and we all enjoy breakfast for dinner every now and again anyway!
2. GlowJetter travel supplements
Our new secret to beating jetlag – these Australian-designed supplements help your body through the time zone changes. We adjust to our destination time as soon as our trip starts if not before and use GlowJetter’s Sleep Formula and the Energy Formula to make the transition seamless.
There’s also a Fortify Formula, which keeps your immune system cope with the impacts of travel with goodies like Echinacea, vitamin D and zinc.
If you find it difficult to rest on planes, the natural Sleep Formula with camomile and melatonin helps to get some shut eye without the grogginess of sleeping tablets.
If you have time when you’re travelling, breaking up long-haul flights with a one- or two-night stop-over along the way will help with the travel fatigue that exacerbates jetlag. It can also add a country to your travel list and offer another interesting story to your journey.
4. Avoid post-holiday blues
Part of bad jetlag when you get home is that dark feeling of having to get back into the dull routine of everyday life. It can really get you down and make everything harder – including the jetlag.
If you can, going away the first weekend you’re home combats those post-holiday blues well and also gives you something to look forward to as you’re flying home.
5. Lots of water and pistachios
Staying hydrated is a proven way of helping your body cope with long-haul flights and jetlag. My mum has put us onto raw pistachios to help with jetlag. I don’t know the science behind it, but 5 or 6 raw pistachio nuts every day after you land is supposed to help.
We tried it on our last trip, and you know what – I think it did help!
6. Noise-cancelling headphones and eye mask
It’s surprising how noisy planes can be. The ambient droning humming whine of the engines and air conditioning drain you of energy and make recovering from jetlag at the other end even harder.
Noise-cancelling headphones have been a real game-changer for us. Christina has in-ear ones that she loves. I have over-ear headphones and I also use ear plugs to get the extra level of peace on a plane. It really helps with getting quality rest on over-night flights.
Cabins tend to be quite bright too. Even when the crew turn the lights down, there’ll be someone with their reading light shining at you and the emergency exit signs have to be permanently on.
A soft, comfortable eye mask blocks out all light and aids with proper sleep. I never used to like wearing them, but these days I can hardly wait to pull my eye mask on and get some shuteye!
Quality restful sleep is essential to getting off the plane at the other end feeling rested and well.
7. Don’t stop when you arrive
It’s easy to just fall into bed and sleep when you first arrive either at your destination or back home at the end of your trip. Instead, try to keep moving. The sooner you get your body clock back in sync with local time the better.
Recently we got back from Europe and that same day we flew to Orange, NSW for a wine festival. It could have been all the delicious wine we drank, but more likely was the distraction from how tired we were.
The ‘Die Hard take off your shoes and socks and make fists with your toes in the carpet’ trick.
With no scientific bearing whatsoever but worth a shot, why not try the tip John McClane gets from the suit he sits next to on the way to LA and the ill-fated Nakatomi Plaza.
Apparently taking your shoes and socks off and making fists with your toes in thick carpet knocks jetlag on the head. Yippee ki yay, mother f*cker!
Just don’t run through broken glass before you get your shoes back on.
Do you have any tips for avoiding or recovering from jetlag? What do you do when you’re about to get on a long-haul flight? Tell us in the comments!