Friday, March 21, 2014

Still on a different Time Zone? Here's how to Beat Jet Lag

Ahh...the pains you have to go through to get to paradise (Corn Island, Caribbean).
Published by Action and Fitness Magazine

You’re back in Manila, but your mind and body clock is still in New York. That’s not a good thing when there is a night and day difference between cities. Everyone around you is getting up and at ‘em, while you walk around in a daze, ready to crash any moment. You got the travel bug, and it’s not the good kind. It’s called jet lag, the kind that punishes your body for the 14 hour long haul flight and the 12 hour time difference. There’s is no way you can turn back time, but there is a way to squash the bug. Here are a few quick turnaround tips:


Quick fixer-uppers
Hydrate – drink lots of fluids before, during, and after the flight. The dry cabin air can leave you dehydrated and can make you feel more tired than you already are. And when we say drink lots of fluids, we don’t mean the complimentary in flight beer or vodka on the rocks.

Rest – make sure you’re well rested before your trip. If you’re tired before you travel, jet lag will even be worse. Get a full night’s sleep before you take off.

Exercise – a no brainer, don’t you think? Staying in good shape in general can do lots of wonders. Stick to your exercise schedule. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean your fitness routine should be on leave too.

Stretch - Athletes stretch and warm up before the game. You can benefit from that as well. Stretch out your limbs before the flight. Doing so helps your muscles and joints endure the hours of inactivity. You can also do it during the flight.


Fly fully equipped – bring a neck pillow, a blindfold, slippers, and earplugs. Wear loose fitting clothes so your body can breathe. Your feet may swell up while in transit; avoid high heels or snug footwear.

Freshen up – while in flight, wash your face, brush your teeth, or even change undies. Freshening up can be rejuvenating.

Go decaf -   After the equivalent of 1 P.M. in your destination, refrain from drinking coffee.  Caffeine can greatly affect your snooze time and will make it more difficult for you to adjust to the new time zone.

Eat up – on the first few days of your trip, eat light snacks every few hours. Doing so will help keep your metabolism cranked throughout the day. It will also help prevent possible food coma from overeating.

Adapt - upon arrival, follow the schedule of the time zone you are in.  Even if you don’t feel like it yet, eat when the locals eat. Same goes for your sleeping schedule.

Shower – take a nice cold shower if you arrive in the morning. A shower after you’ve landed will make you feel refreshed and will help stimulate circulation. If you arrive at night, a hot shower or bath will help you relax before bedtime.

Readjusting your clock

According to the National Sleep Foundation, it will take you about a day to adjust for each time zone travelled.  Adjust your snooze button before your departure.  Several days before your flight:
Westward:  always wake up an hour later and sleep an hour later
Eastward: always wake up an hour earlier and sleep an hour earlier

You can also pre adjust by regulating your light exposure before your departure. If you’re heading:
Westward: expose yourself to light in the late afternoon and evening, and stay away from light in the morning 
Eastward: expose yourself to light in the morning, and stay away from light in the evening

Anti-jetlag diet  

Follow the following diet days before you’re scheduled to leave:

4 days before – start the Argonne Diet by consuming large meals. Opt for a high-protein breakfast and lunch. For dinner, stock up on the carbohydrates. Coffee intake should be limited between three and five in the afternoon.

3 days before – eat small. Total calorie consumption should not be more than 800 calories. You won’t be running a marathon so easy on the carbohydrates as well. Again, limit caffeine intake between three to five P.M.

2 days before – Gobble it all up. Eat large meals. Again, prepare high-protein meals for breakfast and lunch, and a high-carbohydrate dinner. Limit caffeine intake between three to five P.M.

1 day before – eat small and light. Total calorie consumption should not be more than 800 calories. Similarly, limit carbohydrate consumption. If you’re westbound, caffeine should only be taken in the morning. If you’re heading the opposite direction, coffee should be limited in the evenings.

Departure day – If it’s a long haul flight, sleep until breakfast time at your destination. Consume large meals with a big, high-protein breakfast.  

To pill or not to pill

Taking sleep aids may help you get a good sleep, but incorrect sleep medication, can only make jet lag worse. Here are some things to consider before popping the pill:
-          The National Sleep Foundation does not recommend over the counter sleep aids as they may cause a severe hangover effect.
-          If you are considering melatonin, a hormone produced by the body to induce sleep, take a pill at the time you wish to sleep at your destination, beginning three to four days before your trip.
-          Drink 0.5 to 5 mg of melatonin no earlier than three hours before you wish to go to sleep.
-          Taking melatonin with a light therapy box is known to reduce the effects of jet lag. A light therapy box gives off light that mimics outdoor light. It is often used to treat depression and other conditions caused by exposure to bright artificial light.
-          For a good four hour sleep, consider Sonata.
-          For long haul flights, you may want to take Lunesta. This sleep medication guarantees about 8 hours of sleep.
-          If you’re using Ambien, avoid taking it for a flight that is less than 8 hours long. Also, do not take with alcohol.
-          Remember that taking sleeping pills can cause nausea, dizziness, confusion, headache, vomiting, and dry mouth.
-          You may also want to try antihistamines and motion sickness pills to induce sleep.
-          Consult your doctor before taking any of these medications.
Get moving in-flight

If you’re not getting any sleep, might as well get moving. Combat discomfort, poor circulation, swelling, cramps, and lethargy by exercising in flight.  
-          Walk around the aisles when seatbelts signs are off.
-          Squeeze a tennis ball or even a balled up sock with your hands until they’re tired.
-          You derrière gets the most beating during long haul flights. Exercise your gluteus muscles by flexing and holding as long as possible.
-          With the balls of your feet planted, raise your legs using the calf muscles. Place your hand carry on your knees for more resistance. Repeat until tired.
-          Do repetitive, head, shoulder, and arm rolls.
-          Stretch your arms and legs constantly. Arch your torso forward and backwards like a cat.



I have never heard of the jet lag diet before - will need to give it a try. I have used Melatonin before though and am a believer! Thanks for the tips!

These are some great tips. I've never thought about changing my diet for the days leading up to a long flight but it makes sense. I'll have to try it on before my next trip.

Fascinating blog, Ana! Thanks for connecting with us on Twitter! Keep up the great work and travel safe!

Very useful tips. If I fly to America, I will be forced to implement the most of them, especially pills.
Thank you very much.

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