Avoiding alcohol, exercising on the plane and eating cherries have been named in a list of ways to combat jet lag, according to a new study.
A poll of 2,000 adults who have experienced jet lag found more than eight in 10 have struggled with severe fatigue after a long-distance flight.
Other methods employed include drinking lots of water, giving caffeine the heave-ho and sleeping on the plane as much as possible.
Registered nutritionist, Anita Bean, said, “Jet lag occurs when your internal body clock becomes disrupted due to crossing time zones. The main symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, digestive problems, appetite changes and concentration and memory problems. There’s no cure for jet lag but there are steps you can take before, during and after the flight to help minimize the effects.”
Other techniques to get body-clocks back on track include keeping watches set to the time back home and staying awake until pre-travel bedtime.
It also emerged, 44 percent have been unable to sleep the night after returning from a different time zone. On average it takes those polled more than three days to get back to equilibrium after flying long-haul. And it typically sets them back nine hours of sleep each time they suffer a case of dreaded jet lag.
Three in 10 polled have struggled to concentrate when returning to work and a tenth have even suffered anxiety brought on by shifting time zones after travel. Three in 10 have nodded off at work, a fifth have felt their eyes droop while sitting on the toilet and a quarter have even fallen asleep behind the wheel of their car. In 16 percent of cases the jet lag was so bad exhausted employees had to phone in sick for work.
One in 10 have struggled with constipation and a third have suffered from a debilitating headache, a quarter of tired jet lag sufferers said the condition makes them feel frustrated, and nearly four in 10 claimed it leaves them feeling totally unproductive.
Nearly half admitted jet lag makes them more irritable and 20 percent feel a general heightening of emotion, while a quarter of respondents have fallen asleep somewhere unusual due to fatigue from jet lag.
Studies have shown cherries can help prevent jet lag because they are one of the only natural sources of melatonin – a hormone which helps regulate sleep patterns.
Anita Bean added, “Research has found that drinking tart cherry juice twice a day raises the body’s level of sleep-inducing melatonin and can increase sleep time by more than 80 minutes a night. The extra melatonin may help your body fight jet lag and regulate its natural sleep cycle when you arrive in your new time zone.”
TOP 20 WAYS THOSE POLLED SAY THEY BEAT JET LAG
1. Force yourself to stay awake until bedtime when you get home
2. Sleep as much as possible on the flight
3. Walk around on the plane
4. Avoid alcohol on the plane
5. Drink more water than usual on the plane, and following the flight
6. Make sure to stay in general good physical fitness before travel
7. Avoid caffeine on the plane
8. Do exercises on the plane
9. Keep your watch set to your home/normal time when on vacation
10. Avoid alcohol when you get home
11. Take extra vitamins/supplements before, during or after the flight
12. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables on the plane
13. Avoid caffeine when you get home
14. Eat ginger before, during or after the flight
15. Exercise more following the flight
16. Take sleeping pills when you can’t sleep
17. Force yourself back to work early after the flight
18. Eat goji berries before, during or after the flight
19. Eat cherries before, during or after the flight
20. Arrange parties/social occasions to force yourself to stay active after the flight
ANITA BEAN’S TOP TIPS FOR MINIMIZING THE EFFECTS OF JET LAG
BEFORE YOU TRAVEL..
• Gradually change your sleep routine – start going to bed and getting up an hour or so earlier or later than usual, in line with the time of your destination.
• Try to eat your meals in line with – or at least closer to – the new time zone.
• Avoid eating a large meal just before traveling.
DURING YOUR FLIGHT…
• Drink plenty of water or non-alcoholic non-caffeinated drinks – being properly hydrated will help offset the effects of jet lag.
• Skip in-flight meals – this will cause your body clock to temporarily reset and help you adjust to the new time zone faster. If you can’t go without food that long, keep your meals light and sync them to the local meal times.
• Avoid drinking coffee and energy drinks as too much caffeine disrupts your sleep and can make jet lag worse.
• Flying overnight? Try to sleep in the early or middle part of your flight but make sure you wake up at least 10 to 12 hours before the planned bedtime in your new time zone.
• Unplug in the air – exposure to blue light can disrupt your sleeping pattern and make jet lag symptoms worse.
AFTER YOU ARRIVE…
• Eat cherries or drink cherry juice. Cherries are one of the only natural sources of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate our sleep patterns.
• Go outside. Get lots of daylight exposure, ideally in the morning (aim for a minimum of 20 minutes) – natural light will help your body clock adjust quicker.
• The best way to get yourself on to the new time zone as quickly as possible is to stay up until a normal bedtime. Push through tiredness and avoid the urge to nap longer than an hour during the daytime as this will make your jet lag feel worse.
• Start eating meals at the normal times for your new time zone as this will help reset your body clock
• Get moving. Doing some exercise soon after arriving at your destination, will make you feel more alert during the day and help reset your body clock more quickly.