How to Avoid Jet Lag – Travel Health Advice

Any travel, especially if it involves travel at night, may be associated with sleep disruption and subsequent fatigue. However, flight across time zones results in different body rhythms that are not initially synchronised with the day-night cycles at the time zone of destination. This causes the combination of day-time sleepiness and night-time alertness, the major features of jetlag. Symptoms of jet lag are common with time zone changes of 5 hours or more. Problems of jet lag may also increase with age.

Other Symptoms of Jet Lag

Additional symptoms can include Fatigue, Mood disturbance, Anorexia, Gastrointestinal symptoms. In general westward flight is better tolerated then eastward travel. As a rule of thumb its takes one day for every hour time difference to recover.

Tips to Avoid Jet Lag – Before Departure

  • Have 2 to 3 good nights sleep before travelling
  • Choose best flights for sleep – direct flights usually during ‘Home’ daytime If you’re not able to sleep on flights have a nap the afternoon of the flight. Use a short acting hypnotic e.g. Benzodiazepines.

During the Flight

  • Set your watch to the destination time. If possible sleep and eat according to this time.

Dealing with Jetlag at Destination

  • Try to sleep at local night time.
  • Restrict alcohol intake.
  • Allow nap opportunities for 40 minutes during the day for the first few days.
  • Expose yourself to sunlight and exercise.
  • Consume caffeine drinks during the day but avoid them 4 to 6 hours prior to sleep.
  • Use sleeping tablets if required.

Jet Lag Travel Advice – Check List

  • Westward is better then Eastward
  • It takes one day to recover from jet lag for every hour time difference
  • Rest before you travel
  • Set your watch to the destination time
  • Sleep and eat according to the local time.

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