Travelling abroad this summer? Don’t want to let jet lag get in the way of enjoying yourself? Then follow my top tips to combat jet lag and make the most out of your time away!

We are all starting to understand the value of sleep a little more deeply now. Sleep deprivation disrupts sugar sensitivity, it can weaken the immune system, and have our cortisol levels running rampant. Just one night of 4 hours of sleep or less is said to cause a 70% drop in our cancer fighting cells![1]

This is all down to the impact sleep has on our autonomic nervous system (ANS). When we sleep, we give our nervous system a much-needed break, cortisol levels can drop, and we move into immune stimulation mode. In order to get a good night’s sleep, consistently, we need to have regularity. This means trying to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. But travelling across time zones can be a huge disruptor when trying to do this!

According to Professor Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep, our body can make up for 1 hour of time difference per day. This means, if you’re travelling somewhere 6 hours ahead of your usual time zone, it will take your body 6 days to fully adjust. So we can see how import it is to take positive action to combat jet lag.

However, there are some things we can do that will help our body adjust more quickly. This will ensure we can make the most out of our time away, without being sleepy and fatigued or having restless nights!

Here are my top 5 tips to combat jet lag:

  1. Don’t eat for the sake of it on the plane!

Recently when we were travelling from the UK to Thailand on an overnight flight, the airline very kindly served us dinner. The only issue was, it was 2300hrs UK time, which made it almost breakfast time in Thailand! Just because they’re serving food, it doesn’t mean you have to eat it! If you know you’re going ahead in time, try and have an early dinner before the flight, and prepare yourself to sleep instead of eat on the plane!

 

  1. Try and sleep in your new time zone’s rhythm

As with above, don’t be led by the airline. They might have the lights on and be serving food, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try and get your head down! If you’re travelling somewhere ahead of your local time zone, try and get to sleep as close to take off as possible. It’s likely the cabin lights will stay on for a few hours post take off. Be sure to have an eye mask so you can be in as much darkness as possible. This also means avoiding watching movies… blue light won’t help you sleep!

 

  1. Once you’re in your new destination, get outside in the morning

We need to try and adjust our circadian rhythm as quickly as possible, which means getting in tune with nature. The plane landed landed about 9pm in Thailand, and we were in bed by 10pm. Although we had a rough night’s sleep, we still forced ourselves to get up around 9am to get some natural light (without sunglasses on – our retinas need it for an energy boost!). The natural light will help kill off melatonin (sleepy hormone) and raise serotonin levels. And try not to nap in the day!

 

  1. Get moving

Ah, my favourite general life tip! Try and do some exercise whilst your outside in the morning too. A brisk walk exploring, a 10 minute circuit, or a refreshing swim will do the trick. Endorphins + circulatory stimulation + energizing movement = the perfect blend for a good day.

 

combat jetlag

  1. Catch the sunset

We all love a good holiday sunset, so this hopefully won’t be hard. Again, this is to help our body get in tune with nature. When the sun sets, its rays are a length which stimulates melatonin production, helping us to feel sleepy. Try and avoid blue light (tablets/phones/TV) in the evening as well. And prepare your room for optimal sleep (18 degrees Celsius and nice and dark).

 

If you follow these tips, by day 2 hopefully you’ll be sleeping well, enjoying your time in your new destination and not even aware of any jet lag.

Want a little extra boost? For me, to avoid catching anything nasty on the plane ride whilst my immune system is undoubtedly lowered, I take a little extra precautionary measure. Whilst travelling, and for a couple of days in my new destination I use On Guard essential oil blend to ensure I’m staying bug free and strong, ready to take on new adventures.

[1]https://www.businessinsider.com/what-happens-when-you-dont-get-enough-sleep-2017-12

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