Someone who does a lot of long-distance travel knows that a jetlag can be a pain in the ass! Sleeping during the day, being wide awake at night and just feeling absolutely knackered the whole time.
For me, it feels like it actually got worse the more I travelled. When I flew to Australia, the jetlag was gone after just a few days, but that just counts for the first two times I’ve been there. The third time, it took me almost three weeks to get over it and I felt like I sleeping the whole time. It was something totally different when I flew to America, as this was the opposite direction of travel.
But where does the jetlag actually come from and what can you do against it?
These questions popped up in my head, as I’m planning to go to New Zealand where work would start just a few days after my arrival. So that’s why I am going to share some of my insights and tips with you today.
What exactly is a jetlag?
The word is quite self-explanatory. Because of the time difference, the sleep wake cycle changes. This results in a feeling which is similar to a hangover: Fatigue, dizziness, nausea.
Differences between flights going West or East
It’s always easier to follow the sun when it comes to flying. That’s why flying east is much harder in terms of a jetlag most of the time.
What can I do to prevent a jetlag?
Sadly, there is not that one solution. Nevertheless, you could try to get used to the new time zone a few days before departure. Meaning to go to bed earlier or later, depending on where you’re going.
Tips to fight the jetlag:
- Long-haul destinations that are located in the West, like America, need a different approach than destinations in the East, just like Australia. While you should try to go to bed later and sleep in when your chosen a destination in the West, it is the other way around when it comes to the East. Here, you should try going to bed later and getting up earlier than normal. That way, you get used to the new time zone.
- The best time to arrive in the West is midday or at least during the day, so that you still get some sun. In the East, it is better to arrive in the evening, so that you can go to bed straight away.
During the flight:
- Going west, it is best to STAY AWAKE. That means taking advantage of the entertainment program on board to distract yourself, drinking loads of water or maybe even coffee/ coke to stay awake. Eating something that isn’t too heavy on the stomach is also advised. Obviously, it is the other way around flying east: time to lean back and sleep as much as possible! Carbs and fruit tea might help with that. Alcohol, on the other hand, should be avoided.
A jetlag can be quite annoying, but it is nothing to worry about as it will go away after just a few days. The most import rule is: Don’t let it drive you crazy! Try and get used to the new sleeping and eating pattern, spend a lot of time outside, drink enough water, do yoga – to make it short: Take good care of your body – it will thank you for it!