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You Snooze, You Lose: 5 Tips to Conquer the Infamous Jet Lag

Nothing beats the good old jet lag. This photo from www.guardian.co.uk.

I’m a big believer in the power of the mind. It’s amazing what we can make ourselves believe if we put our minds to it, both what we are capable of and what we can talk ourselves out of. That isn’t to say that the mind alone can necessarily ‘cure’ us of our fears, phobias, misplaced thoughts or even illnesses, but it can go a long way towards shaping the way in which we react to certain circumstances and can often guide us towards a positive outcome.

So what does this have to do with jet lag, I hear you ask?

While many folks argue that jet lag is an unavoidable result of multi-time zone travel, there are also those out there who believe that it can be avoided.

Jet lag occurs when our body clock becomes out of synch with the time in our destination, our internal clock registers daylight and darkness that doesn’t coincide with its regular pattern, and it becomes a trifle confused. Then, when our body rhythms that dictate the times at which we eat, sleep and generally function, no longer appear to match the environment, further confusion ensues. In struggling to realign itself, the body clock quite simply becomes a confused and exhausted mess, venting its frustration by afflicting its host with jet lag.

Jetlag, can it be overcome? Photo courtesy of www.medicaltourismmag.com

Some say, however, that avoiding this affliction need not be complicated and need not cause you any undue stress or strain. Here are some simple steps to help:

1. Think Positively

Instead of telling yourself that you’re going to suffer from jet lag and over thinking the whole issue, you might as well just roll over and accept that you will. By not giving jet lag a thought until you’re at the airport, you may already have won half the battle.

2. Watch Your Consumption

When you’re on the plane, don’t eat too much and avoid alcohol. Though one gin and tonic might not affect you on the ground, it will definitely affect you in the air, and a single spirit can have the alcoholic equivalence of a double. This, of course, leads to dehydration and inevitably, tiredness.

3. Snooze, but also Move

On the subject of tiredness, if you feel as if you want to take a nap on the plane, go ahead and do it, but be sure to get up and move around the cabin at least a couple of times during the flight.

4. Get a Head Start

It may also help to adjust your watch to the local time at your destination, and you can do this as soon as you board the plane. This way, it’ll give your body clock a helping hand to begin adjusting itself to its new time setting.

5. Force Your Body to Stay Awake (or Go To Sleep)

When you land, regardless of what the time may be, some say it’s essential to ensure that you stay awake until at least 11pm local time, avoiding, at all costs, that often overwhelming desire to take a nap. Repeat this pattern the next day, ensuring that you still don’t hit the hay until at least 11pm, and you will most likely find that you’re back to your usual sleep pattern.

I for one hope that the above tips can stave off jet lag, as I have a multi-time zone flight of my own coming up, and I don’t intend to let my body clock deprive me of a single minute of my time overseas, no matter how upset and confused it might be!

Kate Blanchard
Kate is an English woman currently living in rural Morocco with her husband, Ben, and their mischievous mongrel, Douglas. They moved out there three years ago after Ben was offered employment as the manager of a large fruit farm, and although life can often be challenging for them both with cultural differences and language barriers, they see this as more of a reason to stay, than a reason to admit defeat and leave. Kate tries to find humour wherever possible in life, and finds herself blessed (or as her husband would say, ‘cursed’) with an irrepressible desire to see the beauty and the positivity in what others may see to be ugly and negative. Most of all though, she has a zest for travel and exploration and finds it incredibly satisfying to share her stories of adventure with others, even if it does nothing more than transport the reader to a distant land for a few minutes.

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