Resetting your watch when travelling is easy, but resetting your brain is a challenge, which can cause many travellers to suffer from jet lag.
New research suggests that shifting your meal times can also shift your body's internal clock, meaning that recovering from jet lag can be less of a struggle. The study found that eating later can delay blood sugar level cycles, called ‘rhythms’ by more than five hours, which can leave people with a different amount of energy for that time of day than usual. Our Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns shares more top tips to combat against jet lag…
1. Adapt your meals to the new time at your destination
When you arrive, try to have your meals at your regular times – but adjusted to the new time zone. Aim to get lots of protein at breakfast time, as it can help to wake you up and have more carbohydrates in the evening, as they can encourage relaxation and sleep.
2. Skip very salty foods
Salty foods – added to the effects of the flying – can cause fluid retention, giving you uncomfortable heavy legs for several days.
3. If you don’t snooze, you lose
On a long flight, having a good sleep at the right time can make a big difference. Try to sleep at a time that will be night at your destination. Bring with you anything that can support your sleep on the flight, such as earplugs, an eye mask and a neck pillow; and ask for extra blankets or pillows if you need them.
4. Keep hydrated
It’s easier to get dehydrated on a plane, and dehydration can worsen jet lag, so make sure you’re drinking enough water during and after the flight. Up to 1 litre every 4 hours on board the plane can be beneficial, which is best sipped at regular intervals. Continue drinking around 2 litres a day after you land.
5. Avoid alcohol
Jet lag symptoms can last up to a day for each time zone crossed (e.g. five days for five hours’ time difference!) until the body readjusts its circadian rhythm. On the day of travel, avoid alcohol and too much caffeine, which will just disrupt your natural sleep patterns.
6. Move over jet lag with meditation
Meditating can assist in calming you down, help you relax into sleep, and may directly reduce the effects of jet lag.
7. Kick start your holiday with a downward dog
Exercise can help with the release of cortisol, one of the hormones that gives us energy. This can even help adjust your circadian rhythm – your 24-hour body clock – as cortisol should be higher in the morning.
9. When you arrive, avoid sleeping during the daytime
If you feel really tired when you arrive but it’s still daytime, have a nap but limit it to one hour then aim to go to bed at the normal time for your new destination.
10. Take a travel probiotic
Not directly related to jet lag, but probiotics can help keep you well while you’re travelling, so I class it as a ‘travel essential’! It’s thought that by having the right amounts and combinations of healthy bacteria in our gut it can decrease our body’s response to stress, in turn helping us sleep. So, when we do get to sleep it can help us feel more rested after travelling. Probiotics may also help to prevent stomach upsets by supporting the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Try ProVen Acidophilus & Bifidus for Travellers (£7.95, www.provenprobiotics.co.uk), which doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge.
CREDIT: Sarah Hugill www.ccdpr.com