When planning for a holiday you try to be as prepared as possible. You agonise over the choice of accommodation, which flights to get, how much money you might need to change to the local currency, what to pack. The list goes on.
What is less often thought about is how to cope with one of the things that could ruin the beginning of your holiday if you don’t prepare for it properly – jet lag!
Adjust ahead of time
The general belief is that our bodies can adjust to one time zone change per day, and it’s often said that we will need one day per time zone to recover. However, if you’re travelling to a place that is many times zones ahead of or behind your usual one, and you don’t have the spare days to rest in and use for recovery, that can leave you feeling awful.
To help make the adjustment smoother for when you arrive at your holiday destination, change your sleep schedule before you leave so that your body can get used to a new routine. Go to bed an hour or two earlier or later in readiness.
Plan around your flights
If you are going to be flying during the day and arriving towards the evening, try not to sleep on the flight as this will often keep you awake through the night when you arrive. Do what you can to power through and then sleep as soon as you can when you arrive (perhaps book a hotel near the airport for the first night if you’ll be arriving in the early hours).
If you choose a nighttime flight which will arrive in the morning according to the local time of your destination, you can sleep as you fly and arrive well-rested and ready to explore.
Alcohol can help some people to fall asleep, but it does disrupt deep REM sleep so that the quality of the sleep you get is worse. By keeping away from alcohol before and while on the flight, the sleep you do get will count for more (and you’ll be less likely to feel dehydrated and headachy too!).