Getting paid to the travel the world has its advantages but crossing multiple time zones on long-haul flights can play havoc with the body’s internal clock. Jet lag is one of the major drawbacks of international travel, but when you travel for a living, it is hard to avoid. Fortunately, there are things you can do limit the effects of jet lag, and it all starts with preparation.
What is Jet Lag?
Jet Lag Disorder or Desynchronosis occurs when the circadian rhythm (the body’s 24-hour clock) becomes out-of-sync after a long flight and struggles to maintain its regular sleep-wake pattern. This can lead to insomnia, fatigue, and lack of concentration as the brain tries to adjust to a new time zone. The more time zones you cross, the worse it is, and while there is no jet lag cure, there are things you can do reduce jet lag symptoms. Here we list our top jet lag tips for airline crew:
What To Do Before Flight
- If work takes you across multiple time zones, prepare your body in the days leading up to your next flight by getting plenty of rest and adjusting your sleep schedule so that it is more in line with the time of your destination. Simple changes like going to bed an hour earlier than usual or waking up an hour later could make all the difference.
- Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the body, and they can disrupt natural sleeping patterns, so avoid both in the days leading up to a long flight.
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after each flight to stay hydrated.
- Avoid heavy meals the day before a long-haul flight and stick to lighter, healthier options that the body can easily digest.
- Get some fresh air. While strenuous exercise is not recommended before a long flight, a brisk walk in the fresh air will improve your physical stamina.
What To Do During Flight to Avoid Jet Lag
- Stay active while on duty by walking around the cabin and stretching whenever possible.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoid snacking on sugary treats from the snack cart.
- Make the most of crew rest time. If you find it hard to switch off, use an eye-mask and/or earplugs to block out the world around you.
- Sleeping during the flight will help with jet lag recovery, so make every minute count.
Overcoming Jet Lag At Your Destination
- Set your watch and electronic devices to the new time zone before you land and resist the urge to calculate what time it is at home.
- One of the easiest ways to recover from jetlag after a long-haul flight is to adjust to your new time zone as quickly as possible. If you arrive in the morning before 11 am, you could have a short power-nap to keep you going for the rest of the day, but otherwise, you should try to stay awake and go to bed at a reasonable time.
- Spend time outside. Exposing your body to natural sunlight will help the brain adapt to a new time zone, and the fresh air will leave you feeling re-energised.
While there is no secret cure for jet lag, taking care of yourself before, during, and after a long-haul flight can help relieve the symptoms, so why not give it a go?
If you already have your own list of top tips on how to deal with jet lag, please share them in the comments section below and together we can compile a list of top jetlag remedies for airline crew!