It is not always easy dealing with long distance travel. With the idea of sleeping on planes and the uncanny ability of no actual optimal time for a flight to arrive and depart. Many people end up dealing with the one outcome of experiencing jet lag.
Jet lag is encountered when flying either east-west or west-east crossing multiple time zones. It is the result of your bodies circadian rhythm being out of alignment with the actual time zone you are in currently. For example flying from New York to London, put’s you off by around five hours.
Some people seem to be able to adjust very rapidly and exhibit minimal detrimental effects. However, many people will likely take a couple of days to adapt to the new time zone their body is in.
I believe that there are some ways you can avoid or minimise the impact of jet lag. However, before continuing, please understand that I am not a doctor or health care professional. I am purely relaying some ideas that have worked for me. It is important that you consider your situation and discuss it with professional if needed.
Consider A Stop-Over
Sometimes when you are going to be travelling long distances, you might find yourself crossing many time zones. Such as travelling from Brisbane to London there is a 10 hour time difference.
If you can split the number of time zones, you change over multiple travels days can help. So for example, if you were to make a stop in Dubai on the way to London. Making this stop gives you a chance to stage your body changing time zones, instead of moving it a whole 10 hours all at once. You first change it by six hours to be at the same time as Dubai. Followed by a four-hour change the following day to match London.
A stop over such as this can be an excellent option for people who have trouble sleeping on a plane. It allows for sufficient rest during the travel, as opposed to one long travel period.
Depending on your intended plans you can even make this stopover multiple days. It can give you the option to explore a country you might not have otherwise visited.
Sleep Your Normal Times
One of the most effective ways I have avoided jet lag is to only sleep on my regular times. But I am not suggesting that you sleep every 16 hours. What I mean is that some days when travelling I might be awake for closer to 30+ hours.
Let’s consider if I was travelling from Australia to America. The flights I have taken often leave around 10-11am local time in Brisbane. With the flights arriving in Los Angeles around 6-7am local time. Ideally, if you were going to sleep on the flight a few hours towards the end would be best.
However, this poses problems for those who cannot sleep on planes. By the time you arrive in Los Angeles, you are likely pretty tired. I know at this point in the trip I am like already near to 16 or 17 hours awake. But I do what I need to push through and not look at going to bed until at least 8 or 9 pm that evening.
Obviously, if you are taking this approach, there are some considerations to make. Being awake for this amount of time is not recommended, but I have found it to be possible when needed. Additionally, under these circumstances, I would not even consider driving any vehicle.
But most importantly I let my body decide how much sleep it needs that first night. I do not set any alarms or make any engagements on the first day after arriving.
Sometimes You Just Cannot Avoid Jet Lag
Even with putting things into place, for some of us, the ability to avoid jet lag is just not possible. The only option may be to accept it and build a couple of days recovery into your travel plans.