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Jet Lag Advice

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Question: I know jet lag is part and parcel of long-distance flying, but I’m fed up with being too tired to do anything during the first days of my holiday. Please help me make the most of my holiday!

17 September, 2008 – 07:19

Answer: Everyone looks forward to their holidays, it’s just a shame about the jet lag.

Jet lag is a disturbance of the sleep-wake cycle triggered by travel across time zones. Usually our body clock operates on a 24-hour cycle that keeps time by regular habits such as eating and sleeping. When we travel to different time zones we change the time we eat and sleep, which puts our body clocks out of sync, resulting in jet lag.

The symptoms of jet lag can include difficulty falling asleep at the new sleep time, sleepiness during the day, poor concentration and fatigue. The symptoms can last from a day to a week or longer, depending on the individual and the number of time zones crossed.

However, there are ways of beating jet lag. Here are some practical tips:

Make sure you get enough sleep the night before your flight. It may seem obvious, but all too often we leave things to the last minute and lose precious sleep time before we fly.

When possible, book your flight so that you land early evening. This will give you enough time to unwind and eat before going to bed. If you do arrive during the day, don’t overcompensate for sleep already lost, as this will only make you tired at the wrong times. Instead, get up at your usual time in your new time zone to synchronise your body clock.

Drink plenty of fluids before and during your flight as dehydration worsens jet lag, but try to avoid alcoholic drinks and caffeine as these are diuretics and will only make you thirsty.

While on board, walk up and down the aisles and stretch your body as much as possible. Light on-board exercise should keep you refreshed in your new time zone. Likewise, a short brisk walk soon after arrival should wake you up.

Finally as far as natural remedies are concerned, vitamin B complex (100mg) can be taken daily a few days before the flight along with vitamin C (1000mg) two to three times a day for an extra boost of energy.

Siberian Ginseng, a shrub-like plant native to the Far East, should also help to improve vitality and boost energy levels.

For further details ask at your local health store or pharmacy.

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